BACKGROUND: Linguistic and cultural discordance between clinicians and patients contributes to suboptimal care of Latinx patients with diabetes. Bilingual pedagogies may help learners with pre-existing Spanish skills to improve health communication with linguistic minorities.
APPROACH: We designed a diabetes workshop for health professions students that applied the educational principles of bilingual pedagogies, focus on learners with prior Spanish skills, and intersectionality of language and culture. The session introduced diabetes concepts in Spanish and English, applied Latinx cultural beliefs to clinical conversations about diabetes and explored the impact of clinician language and cultural skills on diabetes-related communication.
EVALUATION: Voluntary surveys evaluated learner knowledge, confidence and attitudes before and after the intervention. Of 60 attendees, 57 participants (95%) completed surveys. Comparison of pre and post responses yielded statistically significant increases in respondents' cultural knowledge and confidence in explaining diabetes concepts in Spanish (all p < 0.001). When controlling for Spanish level, most items still showed a significant improvement. Latinx and heritage learners were more likely to express lower confidence in explaining diabetes post-workshop (p < 0.05), suggesting an increased awareness of limitations.
IMPLICATIONS: Bilingual educational interventions that emphasise culturally appropriate clinical skills may be an effective way to prepare health professions students who are heritage Spanish or second-language learners to better communicate with Latinx patients about diabetes. We provide actionable recommendations for clinical educators interested in incorporating communication skills training for linguistically diverse patient care.