Health professions students to make cultural connections at Health Fair


A group of our students who are learning Spanish and Hispanic culture will put their language skills and cultural knowledge to the test at a health fair on Sunday, Nov. 12, focused on Akron’s Hispanic community.

The UA students are collaborating with Student Outreach to Area Residents (SOAR) — an organization of medical and pharmacy students at Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED) — to guide area Hispanic residents through health evaluations. The health fair is scheduled from 1 to 4 p.m. in the basement of St. Bernard Catholic Church parish house, 44 University Ave., in downtown Akron.

UA students pursuing careers in the health professions provided Dr. Parizad Dejbord-Sawan, an associate professor in the Department of Modern Languages, with the idea to create a certificate program in Spanish. Its goal is to prepare health professions students to communicate with future patients among the growing Hispanic population.

“Students in the health professions lacked the linguistic skills and the cultural competency necessary to interact with future Hispanic patients who have little to no English,” Dejbord-Sawan said. “I custom-built a program that would give the students the oral proficiency and cultural awareness needed to communicate with this population.”

Oral proficiency and cultural competency in an additional language will help students obtain internships and further their opportunities in post-academic careers, noted Dejbord-Sawan.

“It gives them an edge on the market when they are looking for jobs,” she said.

SOAR is a free clinic run by medical and pharmacy students of NEOMED who are dedicated to providing high quality, non-emergent, no-cost health care to the medically underserved residents of Northeast Ohio.


Media contact: Alex Knisely, 330-972-6477 or .