Puerto Rico’s Ponce Health Sciences University to Build New Campus and Aims to Expand Enrollments

Industry: Education

Ponce Health Sciences University has broken ground on the construction of a $80MM campus/medical research facility, which will be the largest of its kind in Puerto Rico.

Ponce, Puerto Rico (PRUnderground) February 11th, 2019

Ponce Health Sciences University (PHSU) in Ponce, Puerto Rico has received conditional authorization from the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) – which is the accrediting body for U.S. medical schools  – to grow its enrolled class size from 90 students per class to 150. This gain, which will be based upon PHSU’s ability to provide resources that will accommodate the increase in student population, will position PHSU as the most attended medical school in Puerto Rico, and one of the largest private medical schools in the United States, with 600 enrolled students.

Along with the boost in class size, PHSU will also increase its footprint:  the school is working with architects, engineers, and contractors to break ground on the construction of a $80MM+ campus and medical research facility, which will be the largest of its kind in Puerto Rico.

“The high quality of our curriculum, the stability of our finances, and the achievements of our students and graduates all contributed to this exciting opportunity to grow our class size,” says Dr. David Lenihan, CEO of Ponce Health Sciences University.  “The enhanced ability to serve more students at a new state-of-the-art campus will allow us to ramp up our primary mission: to reduce the clinician shortage in Puerto Rico and the Spanish-speaking clinician shortage in the mainland United States by training diverse and highly qualified medical professionals.”

Given the vast damage that Hurricane Maria caused at PHSU in 2017, its increased class size and new campus will represent a “remarkable rebirth” for the school, according to Lenihan.  This resilience was evident in the work that was done immediately after the hurricane by the school’s staff, faculty, and students to help residents in southern Puerto Rico who were most affected by Maria.  These efforts included:

  • Coordinating arrivals of private planes from MIami and New York with 250,000 pounds of donated water, food, heaters, and medical supplies
  • Distributing these donations, as well as offering medical and mental health services, to remote areas in the region that hadn’t been reached by rescue teams
  • Providing free mental health services at a campus clinic to residents who were suffering from PTSD
  • Continuing to provide these services at a loss, even after federal funding to support the clinic was cut off (the clinic continues to be one of the only providers of mental health services in southern Puerto Rico)

“PHSU played a pivotal role in relief efforts for our region,” says Ponce’s Mayor Maria Melendez.  “The support and aid provided by the school were indispensable to my administration after Hurricane Maria, and helped to increase the reach and speed of the services provided to citizens in need.”

In terms of PHSU’s new campus, Mayor Melendez is enthusiastic about the positive impact that it will have on Ponce and its citizens.

“PHSU’s new campus will contribute to a stronger municipal economy by creating direct and indirect jobs for Ponce’s residents,” says Mayor Melendez.  “The school’s expansion will also result in new and unprecedented medical commerce, medical tourism, and a robust medical industry in Puerto Rico that follows the high standards of the American medical practice that is sought after by the world.”

About Ponce Health Sciences University

Ponce Health Sciences University (PHSU), a fully accredited university, is dedicated to providing the highest quality graduate education programs available in medicine, clinical psychology, biomedical sciences, and public health in order to prepare world-class, culturally competent health professionals to better serve a growing population of diverse patients across the United States. Located in Ponce, Puerto Rico, and St. Louis, MO, PHSU is recognized around the world for its educational service and research achievements.

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