Focused on Health Care,
Boning Up on Spanish
They want to
They don)t want
to learn about
Who says field trips aren't pro- ductive? When UNC adminis- trators and faculty members
took a bus tour of nearby public health
agencies in 1999, they heard one thing
everywhere they went: With North Car-
olina's Hispanic population growing dra-
matically - 400 percent between 1990
and 2000 - the agencies badly needed
health professionals who spoke Spanish.
Already mentoring UNC students on rota-
tions or internships, agency staffers didn't
have time to teach them Spanish, too.
Linda Carl came back from the tour
and went to work. The head of the Office
of Distance Education and E-learning Pol-
icy, Carl brought together health profes-
sionals and language educators from across
the University. The group's initial goal was
to better prepare UNC health affairs st
udents for their clinical experiences. What
resulted was an innovative, intermediate-
level multin1.edia course, iA su salud! Span-
ish for Health Professionals, that's now
taught not only at Carolina but at 33 col-
leges and universities across the country.
Built around a broadcast-quality te/e-
novela - a Spanish soap opera - set in a
fictional health clinic in the rural South,
jA su salud! ("To Your Health!") draws s
tudents in with dramatic situations such as a
car accident and a narcotics theft.
"Students get caught up in the story,"
said Claire Lorch ' 76, project director.
"They want to know what happens."The
soap opera episodes provide a framework
for interactive exercises that give immediate
feedback and allow students to apply what
they learn. Course materials on DVDs,
online and in an accompanying workbook
cater to diverse learning styles, Lorch said,
and the multimedia format works in a con-
ventional classroom, as a distance-learning
course or in a combination of the two.
T hat flexibility is ideal for students
pursuing demanding coursework in
Carolina medical stu-
dents served as
extras, and real-life
UNC ER physic ia n
Wes Wallace, below,
played an ER physician in a broadcast-
quality telenovela set
in a fictional health
clinic in the rural
South, jA su sa/ud!
("To Your Health!")
member of the SaJud
team who teaches
in the schools of flur ing
and public health
lvl a )I /] II '" e 2006