Click to download a sample 25-page PDF

Intermediate Medical Spanish

A Healthcare Workers' Guide for Communicating With the Latino Patient

by Diana Galarreta-Aima, Gabriela Segal, Diana Ruggiero


Publisher: BrownWalker Press
Pub date: 2021
Pages: 294
ISBN-10: 1599426242
ISBN-13: 9781599426242
Categories: Language, Literature & LinguisticsLanguage & LingusiticsTextbooks & Study Guides


This is an intermediate/advanced level textbook directed toward students who are interested in learning the necessary medical terminology and cultural sensitivity to successfully care for the U.S. Spanish-speaking community in medical contexts. This textbook is divided into 13 chapters that include medical vocabulary, dialogues between medical professionals and patients, case studies, readings on health issues that affect the Latino community, readings to deepen students’ cultural competence while working with Latino patients, and interactive and realistic activities to provide students the tools they need to effectively care for this population.

This textbook is unique in the market in its cultural perspective focused on the diversity and complexity of the Latino community living in the United States. The book addresses particular health concerns that affect the Hispanic population such as specific illnesses (diabetes type 2, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, HIV/AIDS, obesity, and liver disease) as well as barriers to accessing healthcare and, at the same time, the book highlights the complexity and diversity among this population. Most medical Spanish textbooks on the market only offer lists of words and common phrases to provide basic tools of communication to healthcare workers. Intermediate Medical Spanish: A Healthcare Workers' Guide for Communicating With the Latino Patient, by contrast, is directed to learners with intermediate and advanced levels of Spanish who wish to broaden their use of the target language in medical contexts.

Some of the topics covered in the textbook are: children’s health, maternal and reproductive health, diet and nutrition, mental health, and physical therapy. The book includes hundreds of vocabulary exercises and critical thinking activities pertaining to cultural awareness. The book also includes a key for some of the vocabulary exercises, a Spanish-English glossary, and a list of common medical procedures.

Contact Publisher for Instructional Materials

Student flashcards @


See book review at Project Muse in association with Johns Hopkins University Press by Maria C. Fellie (Volume 105, Number 4, December 2022)

Galarreta-Aima, Segal and Ruggiero bring a unique cultural lens to Medical Spanish education that is palpable in this text. The textbook provides comprehensive coverage of the major lexical and grammatical concepts expected in a medical Spanish textbook at this level and combines them with up-to-date evidence-based cultural topics that are very relevant to the delivery of health care to Spanish-speaking populations. The text includes dialogues that model grammatical structures and vocabulary while at the same time highlighting cultural nuances that shape health care interactions with Spanish speakers. In addition, the text offers students multiple opportunities for meaningful reflection and critical thinking in the processes of communicating with Latino patients. These unique characteristics make Intermediate Medical Spanish: A Healthcare Worker’s Guide for Communicating with the Latino Patient a valuable resource for the growing field of Medical Spanish and what is sure to be an enduring part of the medical Spanish educator’s toolkit.
--Dr. Glenn Martinez, Dean of College of Liberal and Fine Arts from UTSA

Intermediate Medical Spanish: A Healthcare Worker’s Guide for Communicating with the Latino Patient is a comprehensive resource for pre-health professions undergraduates. The authors emphasize the goal of preparing students for effective communication that leads to empathetic, trusting relationships as a means to reduce health inequities. The textbook is divided into 13 chapters, each focusing on a system of the body and a health and/or cultural topic, including occupational health, reproductive health, and COVID-19, among others. Each chapter also features vocabulary exercises and reading comprehension questions to accompany both the thematic readings and written patient-provider dialogues. The readings are level-appropriate and invite discussion about the specific historical, social, and cultural context in which Latinx patients negotiate the U.S. healthcare system. Additionally, there are prompts that encourage students to research each topic in-depth and create presentations or written products. The appendix provides an extensive glossary for easy reference. Grammar topics are not included, nor are there any listening activities, although an online platform is under development. The breadth of information covered in Intermediate Medical Spanish makes it an ideal text for use over the course of one academic year (a two-semester or three-trimester sequence).
--Dr. Anne Stachura, Coordinator of Community-Based Learning, Department of Spanish at Franklin and Marshall College

Intermediate Medical Spanish: A Healthcare Workers’ Guide for Communicating With the Latino Patient will find a welcome space in the academic space for a new Medical Spanish textbook. The textbook includes 13 chapters that cover major body systems and vocabulary. Each chapter includes cultural readings that will sensitize students to the Latino patient population. Citations and graphics are included for students to expand their knowledge of these topics. The textbook also presents extensive individual and group work for students to practice and to think more deeply about the cultural topics. The vocabulary activities will allow the students to build their understanding of the medical terms that are introduced in each chapter. As a college professor teaching Medical Spanish, this textbook would be a great fit for my intermediate and advanced Spanish students.
--Mary Boltwood, Spanish Instructor at Emory and Henry College

About the Author

Diana Galarreta-Aima is an Assistant Professor of Spanish, and the coordinator of the minor in Medical Spanish at James Madison University. Her current research focuses on language policies affecting the health of the Spanish-speaking community in the US, and on community service-learning for Spanish Heritage learners. Her most recent line of research is on development and evaluation of Medical Spanish education at the undergraduate level. Dr. Galarreta-Aima's research has appeared in the Bulletin for Spanish and Portuguese Historical Studies, the Bulletin of Spanish Studies, the Bulletin of Hispanic Studies, and other peer-reviewed journals and non-academic journals.

Gabriela Segal has been teaching Spanish for 24 years at Arcadia University. She has taught Intermediate Medical Spanish classes. She has taught Medical Spanish at Arcadia University Assistant Physician and Physical Therapy Programs. She has been teaching Human Rights in Latin America, Afro-Latinos Rights, Indigenous Rights and Social Justice classes for more than 10 years.

Diana Ruggiero is Associate Professor of Spanish at the University of Memphis where she currently specializes in Spanish for specific purposes and community service learning. Her research interests to date include heritage language learners, cultural competence and intercultural sensitivity development, service-learning project design and assessment, language interpreting and body language, graduate curriculum development, and issues and methods in L2 and heritage language learner pedagogy. Other research interests include Afro-Hispanic literature and culture. Dr. Ruggiero’s research appears in the Revista de lenguas para fines específicos (RLFE), Journal of Languages for Specific Purposes (JLSP), Global Business Languages, ADFL Bulletin, Hispania, and Latin American Music Review (LAMR) among other peer-reviewed journals and edited volumes.