New Spanish Dictionary Developed for Use of Health Sciences Center Professionals

An Albuquerque man has worked with UNM Health Sciences Center Physicians to publish a book to help medical professionals easily communicate with Spanish-speaking patients. Bonifacio Contreras, 61, was inspired to write a bilingual medical dictionary after spending an evening in emergency room several years ago. "I took my wife to the emergency room in Los Angeles and spent several additional hours translating for the other patients," he said.  It was then he saw the need for an easy-to-use book health professionals could use for the Spanish-only speaking patients.

While there are other dictionaries available, Contreras' approach is unique.Salud: Medical Spanish Dictionary and Phrase Book, is a 231-page book divided into five sections with two alphabetical listings of words in English and Spanish, two alphabetical listings of phrases or idioms and a section divided into medical topics such as cardiology, diet, nutrition and many others. It means that a non-Spanish speaking physician can turn to the "headache" or "sore throat" section of the book to find key phrases he can use in getting a more accurate medical assessment.

Tom Richardson, M.D., a resident at University of New Mexico Hospital, said there are other bilingual medical books out but none as organized as Contreras' book. "It is a really good reference," Richardson said. "It is useful because it is organized by type of physician- patient encounter."

At the suggestion of Jonathan Abrams, M.D., professor in Internal Medicine, one of the country's largest pharmaceutical companies is considering adopting the book to make it available to teaching hospitals, outreach programs and rural clinics across the country. The $39.95 book is available online at, the UNM Medical and Legal Bookstore as well as at the UNM Book Store, the TVI Bookstore, Page One and Bound To Be Read bookstores. Contreras hopes to

Contact: Cindy Foster, 272-3322

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