Idaho State University will offer a Spanish for Health Professions degree this fall at its Pocatello campus and through distance learning to ISU Meridian students.
The program is intended to help health-professions students become more competitive in the workforce. For language students, it will open new career paths such as medical translation, the school said in a press release.
"While we were designing the program, we did extensive research, and we didn't find anything like it in the U.S.," said Helen Tarp, ISU associate professor of Spanish and director of the new program. "As far as we know, this is the only program of its kind in the country."
Tarp said the 63 percent increase in the U.S. hispanic population over the past decade underscored the need for the new program. Emergency rooms and doctors' offices need workers who can communicate with patients who speak only Spanish or limited English, she said.
The program will be offered through distance learning to students at all ISU campuses, including ISU Meridian students, according to a spokeswoman.
This story has been corrected from its original, which said the program would not be offered at ISU Meridian at this time.