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Department of World Languages & Literatures College of Arts & Letters

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Certificate Program in Spanish for Healthcare Professionals (HEALS)

Program Overview

This program addresses the urgent need for linguistically and culturally prepared healthcare workers serving the rapidly growing largest minority group in the state: Hispanics. Two California State University campuses, CSUSB (in southern California) and CSUS (in northern California) partnered as a consortium to develop a new Certificate Program in Spanish for Healthcare Professionals, including an international cultural experience in Costa Rica.

Cultural sensitivity and effective communication are top priority for Latinos when meeting with a health care provider. Common language (and culture) between patient and physician can increase levels of trust and comfort."1

This project reflects Sacramento State's commitment to internationalizing the curriculum and adequately preparing students for their professional careers. It also fits in with the Modern Language Association’s (MLA’s) white paper on New Structures for Foreign Language departments ( that seeks to enrich the language curriculum through the offering of interdisciplinary coursework. The HEALS program requires the completion of four required courses and a practicum for a total of 17 academic units. All courses will feature a hybrid format. -Binational Health 2011 Campaign Guide

This project has been funded by the Undergraduate International Studies and Foreign Language Program grant of the U.S. Department of Education for a three year period from 2014 to 2017.

Contact Dr. María Mayberry at for info on the full Grant Proposal and Timeline.

Census numbers for Hispanics in Sacramento County.

Program Requirements

Who Should Participate?

  • Campus Students in health-related majors can participate in the program by getting permission from the certificate coordinator. Note: you cannot substitute any courses.
  • Working professionals in health-related fields—both in community and clinical health work—can participate through the College of Continuing Education (CCE) program -


  1. Three years of high school Spanish with C- or better or,
  2. AP Spanish Language score of a 3 or better, or coordinator permission

*SPAN 6A and 6B fulfill the Foreign Language Graduation Requirement

*HEALS-based courses are only offered in specific semesters.

Practicum Options:

  1. International option in Costa Rica consists of hospitals, clinical & community health, psychiatric ward, nutrition, and public health internships.
  2. Local option in Sacramento consists of clinical & community health locations which primarily serve Spanish-speaking communities.
  3. Practicum assumes a minimum of forty-five hours of work/study per unit of credit, whether abroad or locally.
 Course  Title Units  Semester 
 SPAN 6A  Intermediate Spanish for Professionals I  4  Fall
 SPAN 6B Intermediate Spanish for Professionals II  4  Spring
SPAN 121 Spanish For Professionals 3 Spring
SPAN 159 Cultures of Latin America for the Professions 3 Fall
SPAN 195 Field Experience/Internship (international or local) 3 Summer, Fall, or Spring


Certificate Program Brochure

Certificate Program Coordinator:

  • Dr. María Mayberry - Professor of Spanish, World Languages & Literatures
    Office: Mariposa Hall, Room 2041
Faculty Advisors
  • Bernice Bass de Martinez - Special Assistant
    Faculty Advancement, Academic Affairs
    Dean of College of Arts & Letters
    Phone: (916) 278-7828
  • Heather Díaz - Professor, Department of Public Health
    Office: Solano Hall, Room 4031
    Phone: (916) 278-2503
  • Bridget Parsh- Professor, School of Nursing
    Office: Sacramento Hall, Room 230
    Phone: (916) 278-6331

Course Materials & Textbooks

Textbook for SPAN 6A & 6B - Spanish for Healthcare & Related Fields: Volume 1 & Volume 2
Textbook for SPAN 121 - Advanced Healthcare Spanish Language & Culture
Textbook for SPAN 159 - Culture, Health, & Food in Latin America