The fourth-year courses at Moravian Academy underwent a big change this year. Now, instead of the traditional year-long Spanish 4 / French 4 / Chinese 4 class, the department offers several semester-long courses that teach the advanced grammar through cultural topics that run the gamut on the expertise and passions of the teachers who offer them.
One of these courses is Latinos in the Lehigh Valley. In this course, students are introduced to the history and influence of Spanish-speakers in what became the USA, including major events that shaped their identity and experience in our nation. The class, taught completely in Spanish, also focuses on the various Latino communities in the Lehigh Valley and has some of its key figures as guest speakers in the classroom. The class currently has six guest speakers scheduled this fall semester. The first of these was Myra Piña, MD, the Executive Director of the Fé Foundation, an organization that, in conjunction with the Hispanic Chamber of the Lehigh Valley, has been delivering educational and community development programs to the area’s youth.
During Myra’s visit, she spoke to the class about her background while students observed and took notes. After her presentation, students in the class asked her several follow-up questions in Spanish. We look forward to a reflection on Myra’s visit. during our next class meeting.
More About Myra Piña, MD
Myra D. Piña, MD, is a nonpracticing physician. She received her medical degree from the Instituto Tecnológico de Santo Domingo, Facultad de las Ciencias de la Salud in the Dominican Republic in 1987. She worked in a number of fields since graduating from medical school – all health-related – and was a physician assistant upon her return to the United States.
Shortly thereafter, she worked as the Health Specialist for the NORWESCAP Head Start Program in New Jersey. She taught anatomy and physiology, contemporary biology and chemistry at Northampton Community College (Bethlehem Campus) for several years. While living in West Virginia, she was a bilingual outreach health worked for the Shenandoah Valley Health Medical System’s migrant program. Because of her fluency in Spanish language and extensive outreach work experience, she saw a great work opportunity at the American Cancer Society, East Central Division, in 2011 and went on to serve as the Special Populations Health Initiatives Representative. In this role, her work focused on outreach to the underserved and/or underinsured populations of the Lehigh Valley and surrounding areas. This work led her to become the Program Director for Tobacco-Free Northeast Pennsylvania at Burn Prevention Network in 2013, before ultimately landing in her current role as the Executive Director of the Fé Foundation.
She’s currently completing a certificate in public health at East Stroudsburg University, in Pennsylvania. Her parents are from the Caribbean (Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic). She speaks several languages: English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian.