Message of the Interim President and Dean
This year we celebrate the 35th anniversary of our foundation. Throughout these years Ponce School of Medicine and Health Sciences has gained extraordinary recognition and prestige in Puerto Rico and abroad for its educational, service and research achievements. Our School ranks number nine among all medical schools in the United States based on its social mission.
It now holds nationally recognized graduate programs in the disciplines of Medicine, Clinical Psychology, Biomedical Sciences, and Public Health. Here health professionals of the highest quality are formed, capable of competing for appointments in the nation's best residency training programs, postdoctoral positions and prestigious jobs, and with the strong scientific knowledge, competent skills, dedication and sensitivity to contribute positively to their community and their nation. The educational programs have been strengthened by the opportunities that emerge from our service mission as provider of medical and mental health services in our community and our region.
Ponce School of Medicine and Health Sciences is also distinguished by its strong support of graduate medical education through several consortia agreements in south western Puerto Rico, and through its leadership of the Southwestern Regional Academic Medical Center. In addition, our strong achievements in research, excellence in scholarly productivity, and the expansion of our federal and private funding sources assure an enhanced contribution of high quality and relevant research for the future. We welcome applicants to our programs and pledge to provide them with extraordinary opportunities for personal and professional growth within our School and our community.
The Ponce School of Medicine and Health Sciences is located in Ponce, a city on the southern coast of the island of Puerto Rico. Some 70 miles/100 kilometers from the capital city of San Juan, Ponce is the tropical island's second largest urban center.
Since the early 1940s, the citizens of Ponce had dreamed of establishing a medical school. This dream became reality in 1977 when 26 students became the charter class of the Catholic University of Puerto Rico's newly established school of medicine. Twenty-eight students enrolled in 1978, and 40 in 1979; in that same year, the Catholic University decided to phase out the barely established medical program.
In January 1980, a group of dynamic leaders in the Ponce community established the Ponce Medical School Foundation, Inc., under the laws of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico; the Foundation assumed responsibility for the school's operation, becoming the de facto administration The transition from the medical school's being part of the Catholic University to being a freestanding institution was managed successfully by the new administration in such a way that maintained the program's integrity."
In July 1980, the Council of Higher Education of Puerto Rico (CHE-PR) authorized the Foundation to operate the Ponce School of Medicine. In 1981, the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) granted accreditation to the MD program. Under this new administration (governed by a board of trustees composed primarily of the very same dynamic leaders mentioned before), the now, private, freestanding Ponce School of Medicine graduated its first class of 23 students in 1981. Since then, Ponce School of Medicine has operated uninterrupted and has graduated more than one thousand health professionals.
Starting in 1980, the institution began a period of steady growth, evidenced by the increasing number of students per class and an expansion of scope to include research. The Graduate Program in Biomedical Sciences (a PhD program) was initiated in 1988; in 1992, the Council of Higher Education of Puerto Rico (CHE-PR), in accordance with the regulatory requirements of the time, authorized the PhD program to award a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree in Biomedical Sciences.
Soon enough, the need for better and larger facilities became evident. A new campus for Ponce School of Medicine was inaugurated in January 1995. These new facilities included a research building, a library, classrooms, a teaching laboratory, and the gross anatomy building.
PSM inaugurated its first mental health clinic in 1999. Since then, five others have been added, extending the current reach of PSMHS's mental health service offerings to include much of southwestern Puerto Rico.
During the1999-2000 academic year (after having received authorization from the CHE-PR), PSM implemented the Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program (PsyD Program). This program was accredited in 2004 by the American Psychological Association (APA). The reaccreditation site visit occurred in the spring of 2007, resulting in the program's receiving accreditation through 2014. An expansion of the program's curriculum resulted in the offering of a PhD in Psychology and a certificate in couples and family therapy.
The Ambulatory Center for Medical Research (in Spanish, Centro Ambulatorio de Investigaciones Medicas, or CAIMED) was initiated in 2001 and is participating in over forty clinical studies aimed at improving the quality of healthcare being offered to our population. The Ponce School of Medicine Practice Group (MultiMed Services), an intramural multispecialty ambulatory healthcare center, was inaugurated in 2001.
In August 2002, PSM started a CHE-PR-authorized master's program in public health (MPH) with 30 students. At present, the public health program offers master's degrees in three areas: public health, environmental health, and epidemiology. This program also offers a PhD in Epidemiology.
Affiliations with prestigious educational and scientific institutions, training programs, and healthcare services (both in the continental U.S. and in Puerto Rico) have also been established. Our institution conducts basic and clinical research studies, carries out community educational programs at all levels, and looks after the physical and mental health of our community through multiple program services. Avant-garde programs established in the field of mental health have had-and are having-a very positive impact on the community.
Over the years, PSM has grown to become an internationally prestigious educational institution, now being one of the most important Hispanic medical schools in the western hemisphere. Of the 141 schools surveyed, Ponce School of Medicine and Health Sciences ranks number nine in terms of the fulfilling of its social mission. Our graduates are highly respected worldwide, excelling both at home and abroad. in
Recently, our school was chosen by the Federal Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information technology, to operate one of 62 Regional Extension Centers (RECs) in the United States. These centers are charged with helping primary care physicians successfully adopt and implement health information technology; the PSMHS REC will serve Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Over the years, our institution has assumed a greater role within the community as a healthcare service provider; where once the focus was on preparing individuals to be exceptional healthcare professionals and researcher scientists, now the school has taken on the additional responsibility of more directly serving the community. This self-imposed expansion of duties resulted in the school's name being changed to Ponce School of Medicine and Health Sciences, which name better reflects the school's increased commitment to the people of Ponce, of Puerto Rico as a whole. At that point, a new official logo was also designed.
The Ponce School of Medicine and Health Sciences has played a vital role in the history of medicine in Puerto Rico. Furthermore, the school has a long record of providing high quality healthcare services to the island's population and comparably high quality education to island residents and beyond; its contributions have not been restricted to the island where it makes it home, but have had an impact felt by people the world over. This touching of lives on a global scale is a source of tremendous pride for all who are associated with Ponce School of Medicine and Health Sciences.
Ponce School of Medicine is accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME). It is also accredited by the Council on Higher Education of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico (CHE-PR). In June 1999, PSM was awarded candidacy status by Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Higher Education (CHE-MSA).
Ponce School of Medicine is affiliated with several hospitals and health care facilities. The Institution also owns an Outpatient Clinic located in its main campus and administers mental health facilities in Mayaguez, Aguadilla and Ponce. The affiliation network provides over 2,000 beds and several ambulatory facilities available for clinical teaching and training. The affiliated institutions include the following, among others:
Ponce School of Medicine
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