UNR Kicks Off Bilingual Youth Medical Career Training

Mar 8, 2019

There is a growing need for more bilingual health professionals in Northern Nevada. To meet that demand, the University of Nevada, Reno recently kicked off the first program aimed at training English-Spanish speaking students. 

The program called CBESS, stands for the Community of Bilingual English Spanish Speakers Exploring Health and Sciences. The aim is to provide training and mentorship to students with the goal of increasing diversity in the health professions.

The UNR event introduced students and their parents to opportunities in the health and science field.

Gabriella Vina is a junior from Carson High School. She and 31 other regional high school students were chosen from more than 120 applicants for the program. These students heard from several bilingual professionals who stressed the importance of diversity and the need for language skills in healthcare careers.

“So this is just kind of like the preparation, the meetings, getting us in the groove for what we’re going to be doing in the summer. It’s a health-based medical field program that will get your career options going and your thoughts about them,” she said.

Dr. Ruben Dagda is CBESS’s Co-Director and is with UNR’s School of Medicine.

“It is very well known that in Northern Nevada we are an underserved region, first of all, we don’t have that many physicians which makes it even more of a challenge to have bilingual physicians to connect to the bilingual community.”

The National Institutes of Health provided a five-year grant to fund CBESS. The program is a collaboration with UNR’s School of Medicine, the College of Education and the Community Health Sciences.

As a note of disclosure, we should mention that this story was reported in partnership with Noticiero Móvil, a bilingual multimedia outlet run by the Reynolds School of Journalism, and Noticiero's editor Vanessa Vancour is a key personnel member of CBESS.