Apply now to our National Workshop on Spanish in Health Care,  a 3-day virtual workshop for advanced graduate students (doctoral level) and junior faculty (tenure track or non-tenure track) interested in pursuing language access research in Spanish-speaking communities in the United States. Scholars from The Ohio State University, The University of Akron, Baylor University, the University of California, and Wichita State University have teamed up to offer this workshop, and participants will learn from Drs. Parizad Dejbord-Sawan, Karol Hardin, Dalia Magaña, Glenn Martinez, and Rachel Showstack. Applicants across disciplines are welcome to apply. The workshop will take place virtually January 4-6, 2021 from 12:00-4:30 PM. Applications are due October 28, 2020.

COVID-19 has generated significant global challenges for the health of populations worldwide and in the delivery of health services. These challenges have exposed and exacerbated existing health inequities dramatically in the United States. Minority populations have been particularly hard hit by the pandemic and its social and economic consequences. Hispanic/Latinx populations, in particular, have found themselves in the crosshairs of the virus in each of its geographic hotspots in the current wave. Disparities in Latino health have been intensified in the pandemic leading to rates of infection, hospitalization, and mortality that exceed the Hispanic/Latinx share of the population. Advances in language access, moreover, have been sidelined by the urgency of critical care and the health delivery system’s lack of preparedness for a pandemic of this magnitude. Public health communication about the virus has been significantly delayed in many parts of the country leaving minority language populations in the dark about the most important public health and personal protection measures at the time when they were most desperately needed.

Syndemic approaches to health inequity are a productive way of understanding the multi-level and multi-causal mechanisms that have disproportionately affected Spanish-speaking communities during the pandemic. A syndemic approach understands social determinants of health from the perspective of structural inequalities and violence that not only lead to disparate health outcomes but that also shape the ongoing experiences of health and illness, privilege and marginalization, advantage and disadvantage, and life and death. Syndemic understandings are significantly enhanced through patient-centered outcomes research (PCOR) and community based participatory research (CBPR) paradigms.  PCOR/CBPR seeks to engage community stakeholders in productive and sustained conversations and strives to integrate stakeholders in every step of the research process. The current COVID-19 pandemic and its disproportional impact on Spanish-speaking communities make the syndemic understanding of health inequity and the associated PCOR/CBPR research paradigms critical for advancing language access and health equity today and for generations to come.

The first National Workshop on Spanish in Health Care, supported by a Eugene Washington Engagement COVID-19 Enhancement Award from the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute, seeks to respond to this urgent need by offering a 3-day virtual workshop for advanced graduate students (doctoral level) and junior faculty(tenure track or non-tenure track) interested in pursuing language access research in Spanish-speaking communities in the United States. Applicants across disciplines are welcome to apply. The workshop will take place virtually January 4-6, 2021 from 12:00-4:30 PM. We will introduce participants to the syndemic framework and build on this introduction to cover the following topics:

  • Principles and strategies of stakeholder engagement
  • Methodological considerations in PCOR/CER
  • Salient issues in language access research in times of COVID-19

Over the course of the webinar, participants will develop a language access research topic and an engagement plan to further explore the topic in their communities. Applicants must commit to 1) completing all pre-workshop reading assignments, 2) attending all sessions in their entirety, and 3) submit a final product within two weeks of workshop completion. Participants who successfully complete the workshop and submit the final product will receive a $500 stipend.  Applications are due October 28, 2020. Click here to begin your application.  

As part of your application, you will be required to answer the following questions. We recommend you prepare your response using a Word Processor and copy and paste into the Google Form. We will ask you to consider:

  1. What does language access research mean to you?
  2. What are your main research priorities and areas of interest and how do they relate to your conceptualization of language access research?
  3. Do you have a connection with the community you want to work with? If so, describe that connection. If not, describe your reasons for choosing the community and your plan to connect with them.

If you have any questions, please contact


Parizad Dejbord-Sawan

Parizad Dejbord-Sawan is an associate professor of Spanish at the University of Akron where she currently teaches Spanish language courses and Spanish for the Health Professions courses. She is the creator and director of the Certificate Beginning Medical Spanish which is a program for hospital professionals and medical staff. She also directs the Certificate of Advanced Spanish for the Health Professions. She has been a member of the steering committee for the 2018 and 2018 Latino Health Summit. She is the author of Beginning Medical Spanish. Oral Proficiency and Cultural Humility published by Routledge in December 2019.

Karol Hardin

Karol Hardin is an associate professor of Spanish at Baylor University where she teaches Hispanic linguistics, coordinates the certificate in Spanish for Health Professions, and serves as affiliate faculty in Medical Humanities. She also is a member of the steering committee for the Medical Spanish Taskforce. Her research and publications emphasize the pragmatics of healthcare communication, medical Spanish education, persuasive discourse, and lying, and her work can be found in venues such as Hispania, Health Communication, Teaching and Learning in Medicine, Journal of Pragmatics, and Intercultural Pragmatics. She is the author of Pragmatics of persuasive discourse in Spanish television advertising and co-author of Español conversacional para profesiones médicas: Manual de actividades. Currently, her research focuses on rapport and miscommunication between providers and Spanish-speaking patients.

Dalia Magaña

Dalia Magaña is an assistant professor of Spanish Linguistics at the University of California, Merced. Her expertise is in cultural competency in doctor-patient interactions, how Spanish speakers conceptualize their health in cancer narratives, and issues in teaching Spanish as a heritage language in the United States. Her work raises awareness about the role of interpersonal language in improving healthcare communication with local communities of Spanish speakers and developing intentional pedagogy for teaching Spanish to serve Latinos in high stakes situations such as in healthcare. Her research has been published in interdisciplinary journals such as Discourse & Communication, Patient Education & Counseling, and Health Communication. She completed her doctoral degree at the University of California Davis in Spanish Linguistics.

Glenn Martínez

Glenn Martínez is professor of Hispanic Linguistics and director of the Center for Languages, Literatures and Cultures at Ohio State University. His research focuses on sociolinguistics and applied linguistics of Spanish-speaking communities in the United States and along the U.S.-Mexico border. He has written seminal works in the historical sociolinguistics of Spanish in the Southwest, and he has made significant contributions in the area of language policies affecting Spanish-speakers in the United States. He has also written extensively on the teaching of Spanish to heritage learners. Professor Martínez’s most recent line of research is in the area of language and health care. In this vein, he has published extensively on language policies in the health delivery system in the United States and abroad, on the linguistic practices of Spanish-speaking patients and providers in healthcare settings, and on the development and evaluation of language pedagogy for healthcare professionals.

Rachel Showstack 

Rachel Showstack is an associate professor of Spanish in the Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures at Wichita State University. She received a PhD in Hispanic linguistics from the University of Texas at Austin and an MA in Spanish from Sacramento State University. Dr. Showstack’s current research addresses language access for Spanish speakers in the United States. Her recent work in these areas has appeared in Applied Linguistics, Hispanic Healthcare International, and the Emergency Medicine Journal. She is the Kansas regional lead in the project Engaging Language Researchers for Patient-Centered Outcomes Research with Latinos and is currently working to amplify community voices and develop a response to community language access needs. In addition to her work in language and health care, Dr. Showstack’s research on Spanish heritage language learning has appeared in various scholarly journals and edited volumes. Her first book project Language Ideologies and Linguistic Identity in Heritage Language Learning is under contract with Routledge. Dr. Showstack enjoys working in the garden, reading with her family, and running.