VIDA Program

The VIDA program at CUSM is dedicated to training future physicians to provide holistically excellent care to the Hispanic patient population.

There are currently 140 first and second year students enrolled and an additional 30 student-leaders who all work together to play an essential role in the execution and development of CUSM’s student-led, faculty-supported VIDA program.

The program is designed around a team-based curriculum. The class meets weekly and each team is led by a Spanish-speaker. These sessions focus on building conversational Spanish skills while addressing community and global topics relevant to Hispanic populations near and far. Additionally, teams meet biweekly with their clinical mentors (Spanish-proficient 3rd year medical students actively treating the Hispanic-predominant population at ARMC) to build their medical Spanish and clinical reasoning in the context of the patient encounter. The curriculum is systems-based and taught in parallel with the CUSM clinical skills curriculum. Weekly activities are designed around providing students with the knowledge and skills needed to not only communicate with Hispanic patients, but to also understand the unique challenges they face both inside and outside of healthcare.

In February 2020, our first cohort completed the program. 31 students (97%) successfully fulfilled all competency requirements. The chief competency requirement asked students to demonstrate the ability to complete multiple histories and physical examinations with Spanish-speaking patients. The entirety of the patient interaction was conducted in Spanish by the student. Students were evaluated by Spanish-speaking physicians, fluent Spanish speakers, and the Standardized patient with whom they were interacting. Following the interaction, they relayed their findings to the physician in the room, made a diagnosis, and were checked for comprehension by the physician. Students were evaluated on their general command of the Spanish language, their medical Spanish, and their ability to affectively interact across all means of communication with their Hispanic patient.

The newly gained skills, knowledge, and experience of this cohort of students will allow them to provide a much higher quality of care to their future Hispanic patients.

Michael Oliver

““The VIDA program has grown into an incredibly exciting and rewarding experience watching students grow their skills and now watching third year students transition into their hospital clerkships capable of fully and effectively treating Spanish-speaking patients, fulfilling our mission to provide holistically excellent care to the Hispanic patient population.””

-Michael Oliver

VIDA Founder and Program Director,
CUSM Medical Student, Class of 2022