CLAS Standards, Medical Spanish, Medical Translators



  1. Carrillo-Zuniga, Genny MD, ScD
  2. Dadig, Bonnie EdD, PA-C
  3. Guion, Kent W. MD, MA
  4. Rice, Vivian I. BS


The study's objectives were to (a) determine the level of familiarity of faculty and students at an academic health center with the National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS), (b) identify faculty's and students' interest and preferred method of learning Medical Spanish, and (c) determine their aptitude for working with medical interpreters. A survey was developed, piloted, and sent via e-mail to all faculty members (n = 1,025) and students (n = 1,956) currently affiliated with or enrolled at the Medical College of Georgia. Reminder e-mails were sent after 2 weeks, and responses were accepted for 1 month. The total response rate for faculty members was 29% (300/1,025), and that for students was 44% (871/1,956). Nearly 22% of the responding faculty and 23% of the responding students reported that they were less than familiar with the National Standards for CLAS. Both faculty (46%) and students (70%) were willing to spend time learning Medical Spanish. Web-based instruction was the preferred educational delivery mode for those who completed the survey; however, 18% of faculty and 5% of students strongly disagreed with this point. When questioned about how often interpreters services are used, the rates for faculty and students ranged from 34% to 39%. These results suggest that a void exists in understanding the National Standards for CLAS and that there are varying levels of willingness to learn medical Spanish.