Fort Worth resident Mayra Garcia recalled how a language barrier almost killed her Mexican-American father when he was ill and needing health care.

“My dad has a history of high blood pressure, and he had an emergency procedure done about five years ago — he is Mexican-American, and English is his second language,” Garcia said. “He had to go to a cardiologist who didn’t understand his language. If it wasn’t for me stepping in to see what the problem is, he would have had a stroke.”

Garcia and her father’s experience is too common, said Garcia, the student service coordinator of student & academic affairs at The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth. Cultural awareness and competency increase patient safety by reducing health care disparities, she added.

Health Science Center students attended a cultural awareness and competence in health care lecture on Feb. 17 in the Carl E. Everett Education and Administration, 3500 Camp Bowie Blvd.

The lecture was one of six events from Feb. 14-18 for the campus initiative Be Well’s plan to prepare students for the health care industry by teaching them skills to help avoid burnout, increase their understanding of patient-doctor barriers, and to develop emotional intelligence and resilience.

“Students really wanted more things focused toward their well-being — not only to help them through their program but to also help with burnout that they experience in their health professional careers,” Lauren Carter, the assistant director for Be Well, said.

The initiative is a part of the school’s Quality Enhancement Plan designed to “improve the overall well-being of students.” The five-year plan is a part of  the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges’ regional re-accreditation process.

Be Well plan

Well-being:

  • Center for Academic Performance
  • Disability access
  • Financial aid
  • Fitness center
  • Food pantry
  • HSC Care Team
  • International Services
  • MySSP/Lifeworks
  • Office of Care & Civility
  • Student Health
  • Canvas activities

Emotional intelligence: 

  • Pathways programs
  • Canvas activities

Resiliency:

  • Pathways programs
  • Wellness coaching
  • Canvas activities

“We are going to continue to design programming around different well-being initiatives,” Carter said. “It’s also not just a co-curricular component; they actually have this embedded in their curricular classes.” 

The plan started before the COVID-19 pandemic, but was halted and moved online for a little over a year. This year, the initiative rekindled in-person programming.

Cristian ArguetaSoto is the community engagement journalist at the Fort Worth Report. Contact him by email or via Twitter. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.

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Cristian ArguetaSoto

Cristian ArguetaSoto is the community engagement journalist at the Fort Worth Report. He can be reached at cristian.arguetasoto@fortworthreport.org or (817) 317-6991.

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