I got this article from my premed dean. Sounds like good news to me! It may help to answer questions about whether or not one should take Spanish before entering med school to get a head start. (You know I think so!) The article is from the Chronicle of Higher Educaiton. _________________________________________________________________ Thursday, April 25, 2002 Wake Forest U. Medical School Adds Spanish-Language Requirement By KATHERINE S. MANGAN Fourth-year students at Wake Forest University School of Medicine are now required to study Spanish, so they will be able to communicate with the growing number of Hispanic patients whom doctors serve. The requirement is believed to be the first of its kind in the nation. For the last four weeks of their final year, students must attend intensive Spanish classes an hour a day, five days a week. The classes are taught by instructors from the nearby Forsyth Technical Community College. Between 1990 and 2000, the Hispanic population in North Carolina jumped 384 percent, compared with a 21-percent increase for the state's general population, according to U.S. Census figures. In Forsyth County, where Wake Forest is located, the increase in the Hispanic population was 831 percent. "The classes are focused on medical Spanish. Students aren't going to be conjugating verbs or learning how to order in a restaurant," says Venita W. Morell, an associate professor of family and community medicine who directs the medical school's Phase Five, the final stage before students begin their residencies. The students will, however, be able to communicate -- at least at a basic level -- with patients who don't speak English. The students will, for instance, learn to greet patients and ask them if they are taking medications and whether they're in pain. They will also be able to refer them to translators for more in-depth information. "The patient may have a child acting as a translator, which you don't want, especially if the medical problem is a personal matter," Dr. Morell says. The Spanish requirement is part of a general overhaul of Wake Forest's medical curriculum. Although other medical schools encourage students to study Spanish or learn about the cultures of their patients, "It's unusual that a medical school would require the students to take a language," says Deborah Danoff, assistant vice president for medical education for the Association of American Medical Colleges. She said that as far as she knows, Wake Forest is the first to do so.