Effective communication. It’s one of the most critical components of high quality medical care between doctors and their patients.

When that communication is compromised—by language barriers or by cultural hurdles—the results can be costly, both personally and socially:

  • Misunderstood, delayed, even incorrect diagnoses
  • Failure to convey clinically important information
  • Confusion in medications and dosages
  • Poor adherence to treatment regimens and follow-up care
  • Unnecessary tests and emergency room visits
  • Higher medical care costs

The need for Spanish-speaking, bicultural physicians in California is tremendous. In response, UCLA’s IMG Program has focused on recruiting and training Hispanic IMGs. Increasing the number of primary care doctors who can communicate and identify with their patients makes healthcare more efficient, raises the quality of care, increases both patient and physician satisfaction, and ultimately drives down the costs of care.

Geoffrey Leung speaking with a patient

"Most of our patients are Hispanic, and many don't speak English. Doctors who share our patients' cultural backgrounds, and who can communicate with them in their native language, are a tremendous asset."

Geoffrey Leung, MD
Riverside County Regional Medical Center

IMG Program Central & South American Map

UCLA IMG Program participants have come from throughout Latin America, including Cuba.