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Culture and Language Coaching Program

Two doctors with the Culture and Language Coaching Program providing care for a baby with its mother

The aim of the Culture and Language Coaching Program is to professionalize the use of Spanish in the health care and social service settings. We pursue this aim through 1-on-1 coaching of bilingual (Spanish-English) providers in linguistic and cultural knowledge, and skills.

Coaching includes in-visit observation and support of providers, a variety of supplementary learning activities and repeated formal assessments of providers’ professional language abilities. In addition, we provide technical assistance related to language and culture to the organizations where bilingual providers work.

Ultimately, coaching providers and their organizations improves the care they offer Spanish-speaking communities by enhancing communication, growing trust and increasing engagement.

Our programs

Adelante Kansas City

Adelante Kansas City is a grant-supported program that has expanded our culture and language coaching model to multiple behavioral health care sites in the Kansas City region. Coaches and bilingual behavioral care providers, such as therapists, service coordinators and home visitors, work in partnership to improve access to high-quality Spanish-language services and resources for Spanish-speaking clients. Our coaches and the professionals they support strive to provide the most culturally-appropriate, safe and respectful care in Spanish so their clients can be informed, empowered and engaged in their treatment.

CHiCoS (Clínica Hispana de Cuidados de Salud)

Word "CHiCoS" with illustrated turtle, cheetah and parrot dressed in clothes and smiling

CHiCoS residents in Yellow Clinic at the Children’s Mercy Broadway provide pediatric primary care for patients in Spanish with in-visit support from a culture and language coach, assuring the quality and safety of communication between physician and family. Coaches also help residents prepare to pass a validated qualified bilingual staff test, allowing them to safely and professionally care for their patients without the help of an interpreter.

Our culture and language coaches provide 1-on-1, personalized attention to bilingual health care providers in multiple areas of health care.

Coach Training

We are creating a "train the trainer" curriculum with the goal of increasing coaching capacity and sustainability within our current and future partner organizations.

Our culture and language coaches consult with leadership and staff at the centers where providers work to review current policies and practices related to language access and culturally appropriate care.

We are available to provide consultation and technical support to peers, including organizational recommendations, coach training and access to materials.

Learning portal

Learners can access virtual educational materials through Cornerstone.


To further your education, both our Adelante and CHiCoS program offer podcasts. 


The Culture and Language Coaching Program partners with multiple organizations in the Kansas City area and beyond to provide coaching services, create professional standards, and study the effectiveness of culture and language coaching and related educational models.

Student opportunities

The Culture and Language Coaching Program supports health care education by offering diverse experiences in clinical practice, non-clinical practice and research to undergraduate and postgraduate learners. Approval of requests to participate in student opportunities are based on the nature of the request and our ability to support it. Please contact us at with any questions.

Resources and publications

We have compiled a list of websites that serve as great supplemental resources for the Culture and Language Coaching Program.

Culture and Language Coaching


  • Las Semillas del Cambio (Seeds of Change)
    Cowden JD. Keynote address, Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA) Regional House of Delegates, Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine, Clifton, N.J. Sept. 14, 2019.

  • Role of language and culture in health care
    Cowden JD, Martine FJ. Hispanic and Latinx Heritage Month Panel, University of Kansas School of Medicine, Kansas City, Kan. Oct. 2, 2018.

  • Bringing Down the Language Barrier in Clinical Care and Research
    Cowden JD. Visiting professor, Pediatric Research Conference, Vanderbilt School of Medicine, Nashville, Tenn. April 21, 2014.

  • Ethical Use of Language Across Cultures
    Cowden JD. Plenary presentation. Cross-Cultural Healthcare Symposium, Institute for International Medicine, Kansas City, Mo. Oct. 9, 2012.

  • Is “Getting by” Good Enough?: Second language use by health care providers
    Cowden JD. Pediatric Grand Rounds, Children’s Mercy Hospital, Kansas City, Mo. Sept. 16, 2010.



  • Coaching for Bilingual Pediatric Residents
    Cowden JD, Martinez FJ, Dickmeyer J. 2020. Oral presentation. Culture and Language 2nd Medical Spanish Summit, National Association of Medical Spanish. Virtual Meeting.

  • Culture and language coaching for bilingual residents: the first 10 years of the CHiCoS model
    Cowden JD, Dickmeyer J, Martinez FJ, Bratcher D. 2020. Poster. American Academy of Pediatrics 2020 National Conference and Exhibition. Virtual Meeting.

  • CHiCoS and Beacon Clinics
    Cowden JD, Dickmeyer J. General Academic Pediatric Fellowship Journal Club, Children’s Mercy and Johns Hopkins collaborative, Kansas City, Mo. and Baltimore, Md. Dec. 18, 2019.

  • Identifying and addressing disparities: lessons from the CHiCoS experience
    Cowden JD, Martinez FJ. Patient Care Services Research Symposium, Health Equity: Addressing Health Disparities to Improve the Care of Children and Families, Children’s Mercy Hospital, Kansas City, Mo. Oct. 3, 2018.

  • CHiCoS – Clínica Hispana de Cuidados de Salud
    Cowden JD. Academic Pediatric Association (APA) Health Care Delivery Award Presentation, Pediatric Academic Societies 2012 Meeting, Boston, Mass. April 30, 2012.

  • Spanish Continuing Care Clinic: Cultivating physician language proficiency while maintaining quality of care
    Cowden JD. 2010. Poster. DiversityRx 2010: The Seventh National Conference on Quality Health Care for Culturally Diverse Populations, Baltimore, Md.



  • Adelante Kansas City – A Culture and Language Coaching Program
    Cowden JD, Martinez FJ. University of Kansas Hispanic/LatinX Heritage Month Virtual Research Day. Juntos Center for Advancing Latino Health, University of Kansas School of Medicine, Kansas City, Kan. Oct. 14, 2020.
  • Community Benefit Report 2020

  • GME Report 2010

  • Interview in Spanish on Clínica Hispana de Cuidados de Salud (CHICOS) resident clinic, EFE (Spanish-language multimedia news agency, equivalent to Associated Press). Dec. 2010.

  • Interview, “Spanish Continuity Care Clinic,” Qué Pasa KC, KSMO-TV, Kansas City. Oct. 2010.

  • Interview, “Bilingual Care at Metro Hospital,” KCTV-5 Evening News, Kansas City. Sept. 2010.

  • Interview, “Translating Health Care for Immigrants,” PRI’s The World, national radio broadcast. June 2010.

Contact the team

For inquires about the Cultural and Language Coaching Program, contact:

John “JC” Cowden, MD, MPH
Director, Culture and Language Coaching Program

Francisco “Paco” Martinez, MA, CHI-S
Manager, Culture and Language Coaching Program

Amalia Pineda
Administrative Support, Culture and Coaching Language Program


Director, Culture & Language Coaching Program; Medical Director, Qualified Bilingual Staff Program; Professor of Pediatrics, University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine; Clinical Assistant Professor of Population Health, University of Kansas School of Medicine

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