Belmont Occupational Therapy Student Pioneers Spanish Health Lunch to Foster Inclusivity in Healthcare

Belmont campus from above
College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences

Belmont Occupational Therapy Student Pioneers Spanish Health Lunch to Foster Inclusivity in Healthcare

April 3, 2024 | by Clara LoCricchio

When Alexia Scott started her occupational therapy program at Belmont, she had a clear mission — to help break down language barriers in healthcare. The Illinois native was driven by a passion for collaborative, culturally competent care that meets every patient's needs, regardless of what language they speak. Her solution? Launch the Spanish Health Lunch, a weekly gathering where students, faculty and staff can practice medical Spanish and expand their health vocabulary in an inclusive, judgment-free environment.

"I believe every human has the right to quality care, no matter what language they speak," says Scott. "By learning Spanish, I can help provide that as a future occupational therapist. This lunch is an avenue for healthcare professionals to become more inclusive in how we deliver care."

The idea first took shape as Scott explored Belmont's diverse offerings beyond her occupational therapy coursework. She was drawn to the LEND program to study neuroscience and occupational therapy, as well as opportunities to study abroad and further her Spanish proficiency. Cultivating those interdisciplinary interests ultimately inspired the Spanish Health Lunch. alexia-scott-and-friend31.jpeg

"Belmont provides so many avenues to explore my passions outside the occupational therapy program," Scott explains. "The faculty have been incredibly supportive in helping me get this lunch off the ground — spreading the word, connecting me with other departments, reserving a space, and encouraging it to continue."

At the informal weekly meetings, attendees take turns leading conversation practice and vocabulary lessons in a low-pressure setting where mistakes are embraced as a part of the learning process. In fostering an inclusive space to build language skills, Scott is not only preparing herself and her peers to be well-rounded clinicians, but also nurturing diverse leadership abilities.

"This allows each member to take initiative in teaching others, learning areas of interest, and having a space free of judgment to make mistakes," says Scott. "It's helping us become better communicators and more inclusive practitioners."

The Spanish Health Lunch meets every Tuesday from 12-1pm in McWhorter Hall 214. All students, staff, faculty, native speakers and non-native speakers are welcome to pack a lunch and attend.

"I want to provide quality occupational therapy care in both English and Spanish," Scott says of her driving ambition. "This is one way I can start making a real difference in caring for our entire community."