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Welcome from President Natalicchio

Ponce Health Sciences University boasts over 45 years of experience in providing world-class education to highly qualified students across the programs offered in our academic portfolio. Throughout our history, we have produced over 4,000 graduates in Medicine, Clinical Psychology, Biomedical Sciences, Public Health, Nursing, and soon, Dental Medicine. 


Our institution is widely recognized in Puerto Rico and other nations for its strong focus on health sciences, incorporating a robust scientific research component that addresses health disparities within the Latino community and other minority groups. Now, with the establishment of a campus in St. Louis, Missouri, we are proud to bring our world-class educational and healthcare initiatives to an even wider audience, furthering our mission of excellence in the field of health sciences. As part of our future, PHSU will creatively expand its academic programs to meet the global demand for healthcare professionals. In doing so, and through the additional services we offer, the university will continue fulfilling its mission and vision, which is centered on directly serving the population we engage with, focusing on the success of our students and the PHSU’s community. 


As we embark on this exciting journey into the future, Ponce Health Sciences University remains dedicated to excellence in education, research, and service. Our commitment to shaping the next generation of healthcare professionals, advancing scientific knowledge, and addressing healthcare disparities is unwavering. With our passionate faculty, devoted staff, and talented students, we look forward to continuing our mission of serving and positively impacting our community and the world at large.  


Dr. Gino Natalicchio President of Ponce Health Sciences University

Image of PHSU President Dr. Ginno Natalicchio


The mission of Ponce Health Sciences University is to provide a world-class, culturally-competent, health sciences education to the population we serve, through innovative adaptive learning environments focused on the success of its students to become ethical practitioners and scientists.


The PHSU vision is to build upon its reputation as a prestigious academic and research leader by continuing to educate underrepresented diverse populations while focusing research efforts on solving health disparities.


In the decade of the 70’s , Ponce wished and planned to have a school of Medicine; Even Mayor Andrés Grillasca did everything in his power to make the UPR Medical School based in Ponce. In 1975, with the economic stimulus of the federal capitation program, the School of Medicine of the UPR increased its enrollment to 150 students per year and established an Educational Consortium in the District Hospital of Ponce. But Ponce did not stop dreaming of his own School of Medicine and when Dr. Francisco Carreras was President of the Catholic University and Dr. Sala was a member of the Board of Directors of that University, it began with the dreamed School of Medicine. Dr. Sala was the driving force for the creation of the School of Medicine of the Catholic University in 1976. Is there when Dr. Domingo Cerra was named by the Board of Directors of the Catholic University as Organizer Dean of the Ponce School of Medicine.

Doctor Cerra oversaw preparing the budget according to the needs to start medical school. The board responded positively to the recommendations. With the support of Bishop Fremiot Torres Oliver, the School was organized, and a renowned endocrinologist, Dr. Alfred Bongiovanni, was recruited as Dean of the School of Medicine. But the School of Medicine was very expensive, and in a short time, the university recognized that it could not cover the high costs and expenses, and had to consider closing it. Under the leadership of Dr. Sala and with the help of many Ponceños, in January 1980 a community group was formed to establish the Ponce Medical School Foundation, Inc., and Dr. Sala became the Chairman of the Board of Directors. Directors Dr. José N. Correa, a distinguished radiotherapist, was named Dean. That saved the School of Medicine in Ponce, although it took years to eliminate from the mind that it was no longer part of the Catholic University. Dr. Sala was then Dean of the School. Ponce Medical School Foundation graduated 23 students in its first class in 1981. Since then, it has operated uninterruptedly and has graduated more than 1,000 health professionals. Higher education leaders such as Dr. Fred Soltero Harrington and then Dr. Máximo Cerame Vivas were recruited as Deans of Academic Affairs. The School flourished graduating excellent doctors from Puerto Rico and the United States. In the following years, Dr. Jaime Rivera Dueño, former Secretary of Health, Dr. Manuel Martínez Maldonado, Dr. Raúl Armstrong, Dr. Olga Rodríguez de Arzola were Presidents-Deans of the institution, among others. Ponce Medical Foundation, Inc. Ponce was acquired by University Ventures Corporation in September 2014, to operate Ponce Health Sciences University and appoints Dr. David Lenihan. Dr. David Lenihan is used to taking risks. It is evidenced by his academic training in neuroscience, chiropractic and law. 

Also, his foray into the administrative side of science education. Recently, the greatest risk it has taken is the acquisition and transformation, through Arist Medical Sciences University, of the Ponce Health Sciences University. As the main academic officer of Arist, Lenihan guided the process of purchase and evolution of the School, a widely recognized institution with around 40 years of training professionals of excellence in the field of health in the south of Puerto Rico. In recent years, the School had suffered administrative and financial decisions that threatened its stability, although not the academic quality. He was able to see beyond the difficulties to finalize the purchase of the institution – an innovative transaction in both the academic and the financial world. In fact, it was the first time in history that a school was acquired. In 2001, the faculty of the Ponce School of Medicine establishes and organizes its outpatient clinics in compliance with the AAMC, guidelines and recommendations. The outpatient clinics are an important support for the medical education program of Ponce Health Sciences University, as they provide a forum for medical students to work with patients, if they authorize it, under the supervision of the doctor. Another objective in the establishment of the clinics in 2001 was to offer a good variety of services to facilitate patients to find a wide range of evaluation and treatment, “under the same roof”. Currently, these outpatient clinics are known as the Ponce Health Sciences University Wellness Center for their approach in seeking physical and mental well-being for the patient. The mission of all the members of this organization is: “to learn and heal in an affectionate and compassionate environment.


The University commits to its Mission and the accomplishment of its Vision by adopting the following Goals to guide its future decisions:

    1. To continue its commitment to excellence in educational achievement by recruiting outstanding diverse students and faculty and providing the appropriate resources for the development of high quality academic programs.
    2. To expand its academic and professional educational offerings to include other health related fields
    3. To enhance recognition of the institution’s commitment to excellence in basic and clinical research, scholarship and creative pursuits, supporting existing investigators and recruiting new highly qualified researchers.
    4. To expand and improve its high quality medical, mental health, diagnostic and therapeutic services
    5. To continue to be an institution that prepares ethical professionals and scientists that contribute to society in general and to Puerto Rico.

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