Michael Mank, Osteopathic Medical Student & NHSC Scholar, speaks to importance of medical Spanish

Tell me a bit about yourself! What do you do? Where do you practice?

I am currently a 3rd year medical student at Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine at Midwestern University. I am a National Health Service Corps (NHSC) Scholar, and my passion is in family medicine and underserved medicine.

How did you learn about Canopy's Medical Spanish Training Course?

I learned about Canopy's Medical Spanish Training Course through the American Osteopathic Association (AOA). I first downloaded the Canopy medical translator app on my Android tablet, and found the interface and functionality to be very impressive. Upon further research, I discovered the Medical Spanish Training Course. I am extremely excited about this course and plan to complete it and become NCBHP certified in medical Spanish by the end of my 4th year of medical school.

What made you decide that taking the course is important? Tell me about your thoughts regarding care for limited English-speaking patients.

As a NHSC scholar, my passion and commitment is to underserved medicine. Spanish-speaking patients make up a large portion of the demographic with whom I work with on a daily basis. Using an interpreter during patient visits becomes cumbersome, and there is usually a disconnect between the practitioner and patient. In an effort to more prepared for my career as a practicing physician in a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), I plan to complete the course and take the exam to be NCBHP certified in medical Spanish so that I can best serve my patients.

How has taking the course changed your relationship with your patients?

Even though I have not yet completed the whole course, I have already noticed that I am able to better follow the interaction between my patient and interpreter. As I move further along with the course, I plan to communicate with my patients myself while using an interpreter only if necessary. Additionally, my patients express appreciation towards the fact that I am taking the course to better serve them.

Why do you think the medical Spanish course is an important tool for the healthcare world and what words do you have for other practitioners who are unfamiliar with the course?

The medical Spanish course is an important tool for the healthcare world because the number of Spanish speaking patients is ever increasing. As healthcare professionals, we need to be as prepared as possible if we want to achieve meaningful outcomes and improve our relationships with our Spanish speaking patients. I implore all healthcare professionals to participate in the medical Spanish course. By increasing our numbers of Spanish speaking practitioners, we lessen the divide between our Spanish speaking patients.

Why I am where I am today:

Before I started at the Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine, I was in school to become a physical therapist. During my 3rd year, I decided I wanted to be able to do more for my patients. I fell in love with primary care.

I want to serve where most needed; I want to be where I can make the biggest difference for those who traditionally have barriers in accessing care. I have participated in two medical/surgical missions to Haiti with the Hope for Tomorrow Foundation that were foundational experiences. Working in primary care and underserved medicine has become a meaningful passion and is what gets me up in the morning.

I worked hard to arrange my medical school rotations in underserved areas, such as Cook County in Illinois and at Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs). I am always striving to know as much as possible and be properly trained so that I can best serve my patients. This is where learning medical Spanish comes in. I couldn't see myself doing anything else.


Check out the Canopy Medical Spanish Training Course