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Salem State University is aiming to bring more Spanish-speaking professionals into the health care industry.

The university this fall launched a Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Studies and Spanish. The new major combines curriculum from the university’s growing Healthcare Studies program, which prepares students for non-clinical careers in health care, with its world languages program, which offers a concentration in Spanish.

Intended for heritage and non-heritage Spanish speakers, the new combined major is a response to the need for health care professionals who are fluent in the language and have an understanding of Spanish-speaking cultures.

“One of the industry’s challenges is the inability of many health care professionals to communicate with patients in their native languages,” Amy Everitt, Salem State’s chair of Healthcare Studies, said in a statement. “The disparities in the health care industry, coupled with the dangers of miscommunicating important information regarding the pandemic, are two examples of why this program is so critical now and for the future.”


John Laidler can be reached at laidler@globe.com.