Program Description

The PhD. Clinical Psychology program of PHSU aims at training clinicians to approach the profession from a scientific perspective and to become competent in the production of new knowledge using scientific methods.  PHSU’s Ph.D. Clinical Psychology program is based on the Scientist-Practitioner model of professional psychology as articulated by the Boulder Conference of 1949 (Raimy, 1950). Further elaboration and updating of the model was accomplished through the National Conference on Scientist/Practitioner Education and Training for the Professional Practice of Psychology (Belar & Perry, 1992). The Scientist/Practitioner model aims at fostering the development of both research and clinical competencies in the training of Clinical Psychologists. Clinical Psychologists trained within the Scientist/Practitioner model use a scientific epistemology in their approach to the discipline of Psychology and guide their clinical work by the tenets of Evidence-Based Practice in Psychology (EBPP).



Based upon its Scientist/Practitioner model, the Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program of Ponce Health Sciences University (PHSU) is training a new generation of Clinical Psychologists to contribute towards the development of the psychological and behavioral sciences in Puerto Rico and to provide high quality health services to persons and communities of diverse sociocultural backgrounds and lifestyles.


The Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology Program is fully accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of the American Psychological Association.  Questions related to the program’s accredited status should be directed to the Commission on Accreditation:

Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation
American Psychological Association
750 1st Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002
Phone: (202) 336-5979/E-mail:

Program Goals

The program goals and objectives are based upon the Cube Model for competency development in professional psychology (Rodolfa, et al., 2005)

  • Prepare students to become competent clinical psychologists capable of integrating the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values that serve as the foundation of clinical practice and capable of assuming an evidence-based scientific perspective of the profession.
  • Prepare clinical psychologists for the ethical delivery of evidence-based psychological services when assuming the contemporary roles of the profession in diverse clinical situations.

Competencies & Objectives

Program graduates will conduct themselves professionally within the boundaries of competencies, with a commitment to lifelong learning, engagement in scholarly work, critical thinking, and a commitment to the development of the profession.

Scientific knowledge- methods Competencies

Program graduates will demonstrate scientific mindedness and apply scientific methodology in their professional practice.

Relationship Competencies

Program graduates will demonstrate ability to form and maintain professional relationships with clients, colleagues, supervisors, faculty, other multidisciplinary healthcare team professionals, and community members in accordance with the ethical standards and values of the profession.

Ethical Competencies

Program graduates will demonstrate independence and confidence in complex ethical reasoning and decision making in their clinical practice.

Individual- cultural Diversity Competencies

Program graduates will demonstrate awareness, attitudes of respect, and appropriate responses regarding intersecting and complex dimensions of diversity (e.g. gender, socioeconomic status, affectional orientation, ethnicity, physical and mental capacities, religion, spirituality, and age) in their professional practice

Interdisciplinary Competencies

Program graduates will demonstrate ability to recognize and engage in opportunities for effective collaboration with other professionals toward shared goals and actively enhance team interdisciplinary functioning.

Assessment & Testing Competencies

Program graduates will demonstrate understanding and solid command of clinical assessment and use of psychometric and personality tests.

Therapeutic Intervention Competencies

Program graduates will be able to appropriately select and implement psychological interventions and document therapeutic progress accurately.


Program graduates will effectively articulate, implement, and evaluate consultation services/ interventions, applying a variety of intervention models appropriate for a broad range of settings.

Education and Supervision competencies

Program graduates will utilize appropriate supervisory and teaching strategies/skills in enhancing the professional functioning of the more junior colleagues and monitoring the quality of professional services.

Research Competencies

Program graduates will be able to apply current research to their clinical practice, to exercise command of different methods of scientific inquiry and to develop new knowledge on issues relevant to the understanding of the psychological, neurobiological and psychosocial determinants of human behavior.

Management and Administration Competencies

Program graduates will be able to serve as competent managers and administrators by applying a variety of models appropriate to lead direct delivery of professional services in a broad range of settings

  • Bachelor’s degree (BS/BA)
    Present evidence of the successful completion of a bachelor’s degree from a college level institution accredited by the PR Council of Education or by a US accrediting organization with a minimum of 15 credits in psychology including the following courses:
Course Credits
General Psychology 3
Developmental Psychology 3
Abnormal Psychology (Psychopathology) 3
Experimental Psychology (or Scientific Research) 3
Statistics 3
  • GPA – 3.00 or above (on a four-point scale)
  • GRE minimum score of 279 or EXADEP minimum score of 500, no more than five years old.
  • Submit the following documents:
    • Official transcript from all institutions attended (undergraduate and graduate)
    • Three letters of recommendation written by professors or individuals familiar with the applicant’s professional work and skills using the format provided with the application form.
    • Official scores of GRE or EXADEP
    • Certificate of No Penal Record (Criminal Background Check)
    • A non-refundable USD $85.00 application fee

Applicants with master’s degrees in Psychology, Psychiatric Nursing, Social Work, Counseling or other mental health related fields, are accepted. The same admission requirements still apply. Up to 24 credits may be transferred from other graduate programs or from a master’s degree. The following requirements will guide (but not restrict) the evaluation process of those courses submitted for approval:

  1. Courses need to be relevant to the field of Clinical Psychology
  2. The student must have approved the course with a minimum of a “B” grade.
  3.  The student must demonstrate in an objective manner, or through formal written and/or oral examination, that he/she has the skills expected of such courses.

It is the student’s responsibility to provide the course description from the official catalog of the institution in which the courses were taken.

PHSU has a number of courses and practicum that are not substituted with courses or practicum transferred from other institutions, unless the student demonstrates specific competencies in such areas. However, many of the elective courses may be waived based upon the number of credits transferred. This will allow students who enter with a Master’s degree to complete the academic portion of the program faster, allowing them more time to work on their Dissertation or Case Study and with the internship requirements.

Upon acceptance, all students are required to submit the following:

    • Written confirmation of acceptance and a non-refundable deposit of USD$100.00 to secure the seat in the entering class.
    • Physical Exam (using a form provided by Admissions Office)
    • Health Certificate from the Department of Health of PR
    • Evidence of up to date immunization record (must include Varicella, Td Adult, MMR and three doses of Hepatitis B).
    • Policy on Technical Standards
    • Other documents will be notified as pertinent.

Residency Requirement

The PhD program in Clinical Psychology requires a minimum of 3 full-time academic years of graduate study plus a 2,000 hours internship, prior to receiving the doctoral degree. At least 2 of the 3 academic training years must be completed in the program.

Click Here to see the curriculum

Course Descriptions

PHS 1522 Psychology of Personality

The main personality theories are presented and analyzed through this course.  The knowledge about the neurobiological substrate of human behavior gathered through the past decades will provide the foundation for the study of the biological basis of personality including temperament, genetic determinants of behavior, extraversion/ intraversion dimensions, among others. After familiarizing the student with these concepts and with some of the relevant literature, the course enters into an in-depth exploration of orthodox psychoanalytic theory and into an overview of the main Neo-Freudian theories including Analytical and Individual Psychology of Jung and Adler. Horney’s theory is also explored. A general view of Object Relations theory is also provided related to the psychoanalytic movement including the main principles of Melanie Klein, John Bowlby and Margaret Mahler. The rest of the course explores Trait Psychology (Allport, Eysenck, Costa & McCraig), Behaviorism (Pavlov and Skinner) with special emphasis on Social Learning theories (Bandura) and Humanism (Rogers, Maslow and Kelly). The course attempts to develop in the student the capacity to apply those theories to everyday life and to clinical situations. During the process of learning about human personality, the student will write reports and will learn to use the NEO-PI to consolidate the theoretical knowledge obtained through class.  (3 credits)


PHS 1832 Social Bases of Behavior

Social Psychology is an area of psychology that fosters our understanding of how society influences the psychological, behavioral and biological dimensions of human beings.  Individuals are socialized within particular contexts and this process manifests itself through his/her perceptions, cognitions, attitudes, emotions, embodiments and behaviors.   This course provides an overview of the contributions of Social Psychology to different areas of studies, particularly to Clinical Psychology.  Special emphasis will be placed on philosophical, cultural, economic and sociopolitical elements that have influenced its transformation through history. The study of Social Psychology is essential for the understanding of individual and collective phenomena, which is an indispensable tool for mental health professionals.  In this course students, will explore Social Psychology’s theory and practice.


Also, they will identify and reflect on the advantages and obstacles that social psychologists face as agents of social change.  This will be done with special emphasis of the implications for clinical practice and research.


PHS 1511 Fundamentals of Neuroscience

Starting with a general exploration of the intrauterine development of the neural tube and crest, the course explores the anatomical and physiological foundation of the nervous system within a developmental context. It provides a general overview of the chemical basis of behavior. The lectures will mostly address normal neurological development and functioning but will make reference of the clinical implications of various endogenous and exogenous abnormalities such as genetic and neurodevelopmental variations and morphological abnormalities. The sensory, motor and arousal systems will be examined in detail. (3 credits)


PHS 1541 Fundamentals of Clinical Psychopathology

This course provides the foundation for the rich sequence of courses on psychopathological conditions in children, adolescents, adults and the elderly. It starts with a presentation and analysis of the theories about normality found within the literature and implicit within many psychometric scales and instruments. It follows with an analysis of the experience of stress, loss, trauma, dissociation and other non-pathological human experiences that reflect the borderline between normalcy and psychopathology. It concentrates on the techniques utilized to assess psychopathology within clinical settings with special and detailed attention to the Mental Status Evaluation. The main concepts utilized in the field of psychopathology will be explained.


PHS 1581 Introduction to Clinical Practice.

This is the first of a series of practicum designed to foster in the student the development of practical clinical skills. Through multiple exercises and after watching many hours of videotapes, the student will learn most of the basic skills needed to conduct initial interviews and to begin a therapeutic intervention. The practicum focuses on the development of an in-depth understanding of all the main components of the clinical interview. It teaches methods of recording and of analyzing data. It develops full awareness of the different dynamics of the Patient-Clinician relationship. The ethical handling of records and of confidential information will be addressed throughout the semester. The students will master basic skills in the logical and sequential organization of clinical data so that the information obtained through interviews may become meaningful and useful for clinical intervention. (50 hrs.) Year I: First Semester.


PHS 1512 Neuroanatomy Laboratory

The laboratory experience will allow the student to observe the morphological characteristics of the CNS including the spinal cord and its projections, the cranial nerves, the brain stem and peripheral vasculature of the brain. The student will observe the internal structure of the brain at the same time that such information is provided through PSIC 511. Special attention will be given to those hypothalamic, limbic and cortical zones that sub-serve the major neurocognitive and neurobehavioral functions. (0 credits) To be taken concomitantly with PSY 511.


PHS 1573 Ethics in Professional Psychology.

All professional activities performed by a Clinical Psychologist involve other individuals who are part of society and who are probably served by an organization. Many ethical situations involve conflictive decision making which intends to protect all participants of the issue. Such interactions and the need to safeguard the needs and rights of those being served in the professional context will be a major component of this course. The nature and types of ethical dilemmas will be examined from a conceptual as well as from an applied perspective. The course will gear around multiple cases that by themselves illustrate the different ethical issues that are most confronted in clinical practice. (2 Credits)


PHS 1625 Test Construction

This course provides the student with a more in-depth exposure to the process of test construction and validation. It intends to foster a better understanding of the psychometric properties of psychological tests and to develop specific skills in the adaptation of different psychometric instruments to populations different from the one for which the test was constructed and standardized. (2 credits)


PHS 1582 Fundamentals of Clinical Interventions and Emergency Psychology.

The course focuses on a detailed discussion of all major psychiatric/psychological emergencies that usually present to the emergency room or outpatient settings. A detailed discussion of suicide/aggression focuses on both psychological and social aspects that complicate this extreme emergency. Emphasis will be placed on psychological interventions, theoretical background and the medical management of emergencies associated to alcohol and substance abuse as well as major psychiatric disorders that may present for evaluation in the emergency room setting.  Year I: Second Semester (50 hrs.)


PHS 1686 Introduction to Psychological Assessment and Testing

This is the first of the sequence of practica offered for the development of assessment and testing skills. The first portion of the practicum focuses on the basic attitudes and skills needed to conduct an assessment. The practicum follows with a presentation of the common assessment techniques with special emphasis on the utilization of data gathering instruments including interview schedules and outlines, assessment scales and brief paper and pencil, thematic and projective techniques. (2 credits)


PHS 1524 Cognitive and Affective Bases of Behavior

This course covers historical, philosophical and current research issues that have lead to the understanding of cognitive and emotional processes. After an examination of the historical roots of the concepts, the research endeavors that shaped both fields will be explored leading to the formulation of theory and to the current knowledge about both processes. The study of emotional process will include laboratory demonstration of the research methodology currently used in many laboratories to study one of the major areas of the field; fear conditioning and extinction. Likewise, current research trends in cognitive psychology will be explored. Both areas will be addressed from their biological, social and psychological perspective. The clinical application of the knowledge and theories on cognition and emotion will be presented wherever is applicable.  (3 credits)

The course will end with an overview of the systems that have most impacted the field of psychology during the last few decades including: humanism, cognitive, systems theory, cybernetics, constructivism, etc.  (2 Credits)


PHS 1515 Human Growth and Development

This is one of the core theoretical courses of the program that also provides an opportunity for the student to develop competencies in the assessment of diverse developmental milestones and neurodevelopmental functions in infants and children. The course begins with a presentation of the process of birth and of the clinical methods utilized to assess normal development during the perinatal stage. It follows with a description of the normal progression of the basic areas including motor, sensory, language, cognitive, social and emotional. Various developmental scales and psychometric instruments will be taught during the semester.  (3 credits)


PHS 1518 Principles of Psychoneuroimmunology

Psychoneuroimmunology emerges as a science and branch of medicine, which attempts to provide a scientific explanation to the issue of mind/body relationships. In this sense, it proposes, studies and explains the existing communication between diverse body systems that are responsible for maintaining the equilibrium that allows for a harmonic and healthy functioning of the human body. Students will explore the area of psychoneuroimmunology through a review of the principal concepts on the topic, of the scientific literature and through the most current areas of research. The effect of stress upon the immune system is examined. Specific psychological and CBT techniques utilized by the field of psychoneuroimmunology to treat patients with stress and immune disorders are introduced as well. HIV is explored as an example of a condition that through psychological intervention the Psychologist can impact the psychoneuroimmunological status of the person treated.  (1 credit)


PHS 6450 Mood and Anxiety Disorders

This course focuses on the different types of mood/affective disorders including depression, mania, anger and its multiple clinical and syndromal manifestations. It provides the student with an organized clinical frame of reference to diagnose and differentiate these conditions and the theoretical background necessary to understand its etiology and clinical course. Implications for psychodiagnosis and treatment will be explored. The major theories explaining depression and some of the other affective disorders will be introduced including Beck Cognitive Theory, Freud’s conceptualization of mourning, attachment theories of depression, Learned Helplessness paradigm from Learning theories and others.


The role of anxiety in our lives will provide the foundation for the analysis of the more disturbing anxiety-related syndromes that frequently presents in clinical practice. Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Phobias, Panic Attacks, PTSD, Obsessive Compulsive Disorders, Somatoform disorder and other Anxiety-related syndromes will be explored throughout the course. Clinical manifestations, differential diagnosis and the somatic and psychological treatment approaches to these syndromes will be emphasized. The Neurophysiology of anxiety will be explored together with the somatic interventions utilized to control it. (3 credits) Prerequisite: PSY 541


PHS 1621 Descriptive and Inferential Statistics

The course is designed as an entry level graduate course in statistics and covers inferential statistical techniques to solve applied research problems. Also, the course will provide knowledge and experience in the use of the SPSS program to resolve the basic descriptive and inferential statistical problems.  (3 Credits)


PHS 1652 Cognitive Assessments

After exploring some of the basic theoretical and psychometric issues surrounding the “intelligence” construct, the course will examine the evaluation of intelligence and other cognitive functions and academic achievement. The main instruments presented are: Wechsler scales (Pre-School, Child, Adult), Test of Non Verbal Intelligence II and K-ABC. Through this course and its concurrent Cognitive Assessment Practicum, the student will acquire the necessary skills to ethically and competently administer these tests and other psychometric instruments. The course will also concentrate on the scientific method of hypothesis generation, on the type of inferences that may be drawn from these tests and on the different models of data interpretation available through the scientific psychometric literature. (3 Credits). Prerequisite: PSY 625


PHS 1681 Cognitive Assessment Practicum

Supervised practice in the administration, correction and interpretation of cognitive assessment instruments. The student will acquire the necessary skills to ethically and competently administer these tests. (30 hrs.) To be taken concomitantly with PSY652.


PHS 1683 Psychotherapeutic Techniques

While placed in a community agency during the first semester of the second year the student will attend this practicum to acquire therapeutic skills based upon the Learning Psychotherapy system. Multiple exercises will be performed by the student in the process of developing a solid and coherent set of readily accessible therapeutic competencies. The student will also share their experiences at their practicum sites and will learn how to integrate the skills learned in class to the work being done with patients.


PHS 1622 Psychosocial/Clinical Research Practicum I

This course is designed to provide students with a supervised research experience with a faculty member of the Clinical Psychology Program. The course will be divided in two main components: Lecture and Practicum. It is expected that the student will spend from four to ten hours per week on practicum activities. The primary objective of the research practicum is to strengthen students’ ability to synthesize different phases and components of psychological research related to health psychology, psychopathology, test development and standardization, among other areas.


Students will participate in the different aspects of the research projects assigned including; articulation of research questions, literature review, selection of sampling techniques, formulation of design strategies, development of data gathering instruments and other methods of data collection, data analysis, interpretation of results and research report writing.


PHS 1728 Research Proposal Development and Funding Mechanisms

The purpose of this course is to guide students to write scientific research proposals for submission to funding agencies. The emphasis is on grant and fellowship funding opportunities most relevant to psychology researchers. The course will offer guidance on selecting a suitable research topic, organize and plan the project, identify a funding agency, write the proposal and on how to manage the project once it is funded. The course also discusses the ethical responsibilities of the researcher, the proposal review process and what alternatives are available once a research or a grant proposal is not approved for funding.  (2 Credits)


PHS 1527 History of Psychological Thought

This course provides a survey of the history of Psychology with emphasis on the philosophical, scientific, sociopolitical and cultural background of each psychological era/movement. The manifestation of the innate vs. environmentalist approaches throughout history will serve as the frame of reference to the analysis of theories and school of thought. Specific philosophical and scientific issues germane to clinical practice will be discussed including the history of the mind body dualism. Principles of the Philosophy of Science as they apply to psychological thought, theory building and psychometrics will be presented.


PHS 1662 Cognitive and Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

CBT has become one of the main therapeutic approaches utilized by Professional Psychologists. Backed by an impressive body of scientific research, CBT serves as the intervention backbone for many other subspecialties in the field of Clinical Psychology including Health Psychology, Addiction Psychology, Child Therapy and others. Based upon the extensive literature on Learning Theories, Cognitive Psychology and Behavior Modification, the most effective Cognitive and Cognitive Behavioral therapeutic modalities will be presented throughout this course; e.g. Cognitive Therapies, Rational Emotive Therapy, Multi-modal therapy, Cognitive-Developmental Therapy. Some of the techniques emphasized during the course are: Systematic Desensitization, Behavior Rehearsal and Cognitive Restructuring. Multiple behavior and cognitive assessment techniques will be demonstrated and fully covered. (2 credits)


PHS 1658 Projective Assessment of Personality – Prerequisites: PHS 522, 541 and 652

Projective techniques constitute an important component of the Clinical Psychologist armamentarium of diagnostic tests.  The newer Rorschach system is one of the most widely utilized of these techniques.  This course will focus on the Rorschach method as perceptual-cognitive problem-solving tasks with an incomparable projective potential.


Learning the administration and scoring of the Rorschach will be the main objective of the course.  The thematic techniques (TAT, CAT) and various Paper-Pencil projective techniques will be presented as secondary and/or alternate personality assessment methods.


PHS 1688 Practicum Projective Personality

Through this practicum students will learn the administration, scoring and interpretation of the projective techniques presented through the Projective Assessment Course. The thematic techniques, especially the TEMAS (Tell-Me-AStory) test will be the main focus of the practicum. The practicum will prepare students to write personality assessment reports and for conducting high quality, ethically sensitive, feedback sessions. Assessment (30 hours) to be taken concomitantly with PSY 658.


PHS 1685 Conceptualization & Intervention Planning

This is the practicum experience for the second semester of the second year. The student will be placed in a community practicum site during the semester. Once per week, the students will meet with their practicum coordinator to discuss relevant issues related to their experience. At the didactic level this practicum will attempt to develop in the student, conceptualization and intervention planning techniques. Therefore, the student will develop the capacity to understand clinical cases and to develop a coherent intervention plan through these didactic experiences and case presentations. To achieve these clinical skills the student will be able to integrate the theoretical knowledge and the skills accumulated from previous practica and theoretical courses with the experiences they are having at their practicum site.  (250 hrs) Prerequisite: PSY 683


PHS 1623 Psychosocial/Clinical Research Practicum II

This course is a continuation of Research Practicum III centering on the development of clinical/social research competencies. Students will continue to gain supervised research experience with faculty members of the Clinical Psychology Program. Although some lectures will be provided on practical research issues, most of the time of this research practicum will be spent in developing skills with data collection, data analysis and development of research reports and/or publications. To accomplish these goals students will spend from four to ten hours per week on practicum activities. (0 Credits)


PHS 1731 Racial, Ethnic and Cultural Diversity

The technological advances of contemporary societies have brought human beings from diverse backgrounds closer together. Such demographic changes have urge psychologists and other mental health practitioners to increase their understanding of diversity issues. Contemporary, multicultural societies also require from psychologist a broader repertoire of clinical and psychotherapeutic interventions. This course addresses these critical needs of professional psychologists by exposing students to the theory and practice of multicultural psychology. (3 credits)


PHS 1786 General Clinical Practice: Integration I (250 hrs.)  Prerequisite: PSY 685

During the first semester of the third year the student will be placed in a community site to gain additional clinical experience.  They will also have a two-hour didactic session where they will share their experiences with the cases they see at their practicum site.  Through these discussions, the student will develop the capacity to integrate multiple sources of information to help the clients served. The student will integrate information obtained through interview with data obtained through tests, together with their personal experience with client.  Through this integration, they will be able to develop a more comprehensive understanding of the clinical cases they are treating at their practicum site.


PHS 1747 Personality and Psychotic Disorders (3 credits) Prerequisite: PSY 645

Through this course the student will be guided through the exiting literature on Personality Disorders to read the theories that best illustrate these complex clinical syndromes. Through this approach the student will be able to compare various approaches to the diagnosis, understanding and treatment of the different types of personality disorders including borderline, antisocial, narcissistic, avoidant, schizoid, schizotypical and others. Various general theoretical orientations created to facilitate the understanding and clinical work with PD patients will also receive special attention including those of Shapiro, Millon, Kernberg and others. The student will obtain a detailed understanding of psychotic processes based upon their readings, the lectures provided and upon the examination of recorded interviews with psychotic patients. This will allow the student to obtain an in-depth understanding of the different manifestations of psychotic symptoms. The main types of psychotic disorders will be presented with emphasis on Schizophrenia, Affective Psychosis, Brief Reactive Psychosis and Paranoia.


PHS 1722 Psychosocial/Clinical Research Practicum III

This practicum is designed to provide students with a supervised research experience with a faculty member of the Clinical Psychology Program. The practicum will be divided in two main components: lecture/didactic activities and practicum/experiential hands-on opportunities. It is expected that the student will spend from six to ten hours per week on practicum related activities including direct research experiences. The primary objective of the research practicum is to strengthen students’ ability to comprehend the different phases and components of psychological research related to health psychology, psychopathology, test development, among other areas. Students will participate in different aspects of the research projects assigned including; articulation of research questions, literature review, selection of sampling techniques, formulation of design strategies, development of data gathering instruments and other methods of data collection. (0 Credits)


MPH 7101 IRB Seminar

This seminar will expose the student to the regulations for the protection of human and animal subjects in the context of the main types of research methodologies. The main ethical issues underlying the ethical execution of research projects will be initially considered. The regulations expressed in the report of the National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research, The Belmont report, will be considered and will serve as the foundation for the seminar, within the broader ethical perspective initially presented. Students will learn that all government and private institutions receiving funds from the DHHS (including NIH & NIMH) that support or engages in research with human subject adhere to these regulatory requirements guided by the ethical principles of the Belmont Report. (1 Credit)


PSY 1766 Group Processes and Group Psychotherapy

Basic psychological processes of small groups are initially explored as a foundation to introduce the main theoretical approaches to group therapy.  The course provides an in-depth examination of the steps usually conducted to determine the type of group to form and the selection process.  The different stage of development of the therapeutic group follows together with the manner in which the different curative factors of group therapy are activated and maintained during treatment. The role of the therapist is emphasized throughout each topic.


PSY 1717 Clinical Psychopharmacology

The initial portion of the course provides an introduction to pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics. It explores the main neurotransmitter systems of the brain and the role they play on abnormal behavior. The rest of the course focuses on the basic pharmacological properties and clinical actions of the main psychotropic medication including: Antidepressants (SSRI, Tricyclics and newer agents), Anxiolytics (with emphasis on BenzoDíazepines), hypnotics, mood stabilizers, high and low potency neuroleptics (emphasis on the newer generation of antipsychotic medication). (2 credits)


MPH 5601 Scientific Writing

This course concentrates on writing a research paper and on the effective presentation of scientific information in text and figures. It emphasizes an approach oriented to the reader, addressing subjects such as: Writing tables, abstract introduction, methods, results and discussion. Students will learn about the writing process by drafting and revising a manuscript bases on their own research. (3 Credits)


PHS 1648 Psychopathological Disorders in Children and Adolescents

A general exploration of the different psychological and neurodevelopmental disorders of childhood and adolescence including Autism, ADHD, elimination and eating disorders, behavioral disorders, affective and anxiety disorders. The main theoretical positions available about each condition will be presented to assist the student in gaining an adequate understanding of the underlying dynamics of each condition, in addition to their clinical manifestation. (2 credits) Prerequisite: PSY 541


PHS 1767 Family Therapy and Systemic Interventions (2 Credits)

A brief review of the history of Family Therapy will provide the initial approach to the course and to the analysis of the different types of family therapies. Special attention will be given to structural, systemic, strategic and transgenerational orientations. The student will learn specific Family Therapy techniques needed to assess families (genograms, joining techniques, etc.), will learn to elaborate treatment plans and to organize and conduct family sessions. Evidence based interventions with families and couples will be discussed and contrasted with Classical models.


PHS1787 General Clinical Practice: Integration II (250 hrs.) Prerequisite PSY 786

During the second semester of the third year the student will meet with their practicum coordinator to further explore ways of integrating clinical material in such a way as to allow them to gain better understanding of cases and to elaborate comprehensive and realistic treatment plans. During this practicum, the student will develop further competencies in the utilization of Empirically Validated Procedures (EVP). Cases will be presented and discussed with the intention of further delineating clinical syndromes utilizing psychometric and historical information together with patients’ response to the intervention. This module will also help the student to gain a broader perspective of the context in which treatment occurs, being this learning objective consonant with their third-year academic program. This entails the capacity to integrate different types of treatment modalities including child therapy and systemic interventions, family therapy, advanced psychopathology as well as theoretical information obtained through the other courses of the third-year program. Therefore, the student will learn to integrate knowledge from multiple sources within the field of mental health with the information obtained from the patients being served at the practicum sites, as well as learn to derive a deeper understanding of their professional roles and of the intervention strategies available within our understanding of EVP.


PHS 1727 Psychosocial/Clinical Research Practicum IV

This course is a continuation of Research Practicum III centering on the development of clinical/social research competencies. Students will continue to gain supervised research experience with faculty members of the Clinical Psychology Program. Although some lectures will be provided on practical research issues, most of the time of this research practicum will be spent in developing skills with data collection, data analysis and development of research reports and/or publications. To accomplish these goals students will spend from four to ten hours per week on practicum activities.  (0 Credits)


PHS 1725 Behavioral Neuroscience Research Practicum II

This course provides the students the opportunity to design experiments related to the field of Behavioral Neuroscience. The students will gain experience in neuroscience experimentation, gather substantial data sets and develop skills in scientific report writing and presentation. The students will apply some of the techniques learned in the Behavioral Neuroscience Laboratory I.  (0 Credits)


PHS 1773 Supervision and Consultation (3 credits)

This course explores the historical context and the philosophy of supervision. It analyzes the major supervision models and their application to psychotherapeutic and educational/training settings. The differences between the supervisor and consultant role will be explored in the context of the relationship with the supervisee and the consultee. Most common consultation settings for psychologists such as schools and organizations will be emphasized, exploring contemporary strategies and techniques such as coaching and mediation. Students will be given the opportunity to supervise at least one student in their initial clinical practice. Their supervisory work will be monitored and supervised by the course professor. The student will provide a written report on the experience. Every student will identify, analyze and present in class a critical review of a research article published in the last 5 years, in a topic relate to clinical supervision or consultation.


PHS 1729 Behavioral Neuroscience Research Practicum III (0 Credits)

Students willing to develop additional competencies in the field of neuroscientific research may elect to register in this practicum. This practicum is especially suited for conducting a dissertation research project related to neurosciences, under the supervision of a faculty member. Students will have an opportunity to begin to collect data and to refine their dissertation project. Students may also elect to use this learning experience to prepare a manuscript for publication after collecting pertinent data.


PHS 1826 Doctoral Dissertation (0 Credits)

The student will register in Psychology 826 during the 4th year and will meet regularly with his/her thesis advisor and other committee members. Through these meetings, the student will be guided towards the completion of his/her dissertation project.


PHS 1836 Psychology of Gender (2 credits)

An exploration of adult personality development forms the foundation of this course with special reflection on gender differences as identified through relevant research and humanistic literature. The different stages of adult development will also serve as the foundation to explore the psychosocial and psychocultural issues that have affected adults in traditional and contemporary societies. The course will address the following topics, among others: Life styles and sexual orientation, the GLBT movement; multilateral and multigenerational relationships and connectedness; social roles, work and community; marriage, pregnancy, mothering and fatherhood and health and gender. Gender issues, gender roles and gender differences and similarities will be of primary concern for this course. The psychotherapeutic implications of these issues will be addressed throughout the course.


PHS 1801 Teaching Psychology Laboratory. (30 Hours). Prerequisite: PSY 621 & PSY 721

While performing as Teacher Assistant (TA) for the Statistics, Methods, or other graduate psychology course, advanced PhD students will develop the necessary skills for teaching psychology in higher education. Students will have an opportunity to engage in research assistantship (data analysis) as part of the experience, in addition to performing as TA to one of the program´s faculty members, especially, for the research professors. As TA, the student will provide lectures, will assist junior students in learning the appropriate use of SPSS and other statistical software programs and will engage in additional teaching experiences related to psychology. All the activities will be supervised, discussed and conducted with the course professor.


PHS 1724 Introduction to Cognitive Neuroscience

This is a survey course that covers the following areas of Cognitive Neuroscience: brain evolution, perception, attention, memory, language, emotion and consciousness. The objective of the course is to introduce students to the main issues in each field and guide further independent reading. (2 credits) Pre-requisites: Medical Neuroscience Course, or PSY 511.


PHS 1772 Program Development and Administration in Mental Health. (2 Credits).

Students will select a problem, a need, or a social issue that they want to address through some type of action program or project. Throughout the course, the student will learn how to define the problem so that a clear mission is articulated, how to write objectives and how to design the type of program that needs to be developed to address the particular need or interest. The student will be exposed to modern organizational and leadership theories. The financial implications of the project will be explored as the student learns the basics of budgeting, identifying funding sources and the utilization of Management Information Systems. The student will incorporate these models to their particular project, according to the format for program development to be provided.


PHS 1900 Doctoral Internship

This is a 2000-hour per year intensive clinical experience. The student will be placed for 40 hours per week for 12 months (or 20 hours for 24 months) in a clinical setting where opportunities for further growth are abundant. Such work will be closely supervised given that this is the last experiential component of their program.

For more details of PHSU tuition and fees please refer to: Cost of Attendance


Ponce Health Sciences University reserve the right to increase the tuition or other fees as deemed necessary.

The requirements for the PhD in Clinical Psychology degree are:

  • Approve all required and elective courses, as well as all practicum and seminars while maintaining a satisfactory academic progress. A minimum of 86 credits is needed to satisfy the academic requirements. The practicum, dissertation and internship do not carry credit value as they are computed by the hour.
  • Successfully complete 1100 hours of clinical practice as follows: Two hours per week of the first and second semesters of the first year attending PHS 1581/1582 for a total of 50 hours per semester.
  • Two hours per week during the first and second semesters of the second year attending didactic sessions (PHS 1683 / 1685) and at least 8 hours per week of direct clinical contact during 25 weeks for a total of 250 hours per semester.
  • Two hours each week of the first and second semesters of the third year attending didactic sessions (PHS 1786 / 1787) and at least 8 hours per week of direct clinical contact during 25 weeks for a total of 250 hours per semester.
  • Successful completion of five semesters of required research practica. PHS 1622 is required during the second semester of first year. During the second year, two additional required research practica may be chosen from PHS 1623 & PHS 1722 (Psychosocial/clinical), or PHS 1723 & PHS1733 (Behavioral Neuroscience). During third year, two additional required research practica may be chosen from PHS 1730 & PHS 1734 (Psychosocial/clinical), or PHS 1735 (Behavioral Neuroscience).
  • Approve the Comprehensive Examination offered at the end of the second year and the Clinical Practice Examination (CPX) to be taken during or after the end of third year.
  • Approval of Dissertation Proposal by the dissertation committee before submitting the internship application.
  • Complete 2000 hours of a doctoral internship. The internship may be completed in 40 hours per week during a 12-month period (Full Time) or 20 hours per week in a 24-month period (Half Time).
  • Approval of the doctoral dissertation, which must be related to the field of Psychology in general or to Professional Psychology in particular. The program also recommends their students to submit their results for publication in a peer review journal. Every student should submit at least one manuscript for publication in a peer review journal during their doctoral program.

Grading System

All courses and grades obtained will appear on the student’s academic record, including transferred courses from other institutions.


The Program has established evaluation criteria for the successful completion of courses.  These criteria are made available to the students at the beginning of the course.  The grading system for graduate students is as follows:


Letter Grade
A 100% – 90%
B 89% – 80%
C 79% – 70%
F Failed (below 70%)
E Extended
I Incomplete
IP In Progress
P Pass
NP Not Pass
W Withdrawal
AW Administrative Withdrawal


Satisfactory Academic Progress

This policy has been established to ensure an acceptable time frame for completion of the academic program and the minimally accepted quality of performance. This policy also ensures that the Student Financial Aid requirements, set forth by federal regulations, are met.


This policy applies to students enrolled in the Masters in Science in School Psychology at Ponce Health Sciences University.

General Requirements

Time Frame for completion of the Academic Program

A School Psychology Student will be allowed a maximum time frame of 2.5 years of enrollment beyond the 2.5 years standard required for the completion of the program.  Summer enrollment is considered part of the academic year for the purpose of this measure.


The total amount of years for completion of the degree includes those graduate courses accredited on admission to the School Psychology Program.


  1. Definition of a full time: Students with an academic load of 6 credits or more per semester will be considered full time graduate students.
  2. Definition of half time: Students with an academic load of 3 to 5 credits per semester will be considered half time students.
  3. Definition of less than half time: Students with an academic load of less than 3 credits per semester will be considered less than half time or part-time students.

Completion of Program Requirements

  • Course Requirement

Students must complete all courses within the established time frame.  The Program requires a total of 62 credits.

  • Performance Requirement

A student must maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.00 for every semester. A student failing to meet this standard of performance will be referred to the Students Promotion Committee.

  • Comprehensive Examination Requirement

The program requires approval of a Comprehensive Examination covering core areas of the field.

  • Professional Behavior Requirement

The students should conduct themselves in accordance with the norms for professional behavior set forth by Ponce Health Sciences University, the corresponding accreditation agencies and the Clinical Practice Manual of the School Psychology Program.

Grade Requirement

In order to graduate, the student should complete all requirements and maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.00. Satisfactory Academic Progress is required for financial aid eligibility and will be reviewed on a yearly basis.


  • No more than two courses may be approved with a grade of C.
  • Obtaining a grade of C in a third course will require that student repeat such course (s).
  • Repeated courses with “C” grades will remain on record, but the new grade will be used to compute the grade point average.
  • A grade of “F” in any course will result in referral to the Students Promotion Committee and considered for dismissal based on overall academic performance, including GPA in the program.
  • Grades of “P” (Passed) or “NP” (Not Pass) are applicable to Practice. A grade of “NP” requires repetition. In case of a second “NP” grade in the same practicum, the student will be referred to the Students Promotion Committee with a recommendation for dismissal.
  • An “I” (Incomplete) grade will only be allowed under very special circumstances as determined by the professor. The student must remove the “I” (Incomplete) by the following semester or an administrative “F” will replace it.

Academic Probation and Financial Aid Eligibility

Academic Probation and Financial Aid Eligibility

A student failing to meet the grade requirements will be placed on academic probation for one semester, but will be eligible for financial aid. At the end of the semester, if the student has not regained SAP, he/she loses financial aid for the following semester.


If the student is dismissed, but the dismissal decision is reversed by the due process, the student loses financial aid until SAP is reestablished.

Appeal Process for Academic Probation

Students notified that they are to be dismissed from the Ph.D. program, have the right to appeal the case in writing to the SBBS Dean within seven working days after receiving the notification.


The Appeal or Due Process for Dismissal presented below must be followed:

The SBBS Dean will evaluate the appeal and the student’s academic record. Rejection of the appeal by the Dean is final. If the Dean has a reasonable doubt about the student’s capacity or academic record, he/she can appoint a three-member Ad-Hoc Committee to re-evaluate all evidence.


The Ad-Hoc Committee will notify the student in writing of the date and time when the case will be heard. The Ad-Hoc Committee has forty-eight (48) hours to submit the report.


The SBBS Dean will consider the Ad-Hoc Committee recommendation, and make the final decision within forty-eight (48) hours. Any decision will be reported to the student in writing.  All decisions made by the Dean are final.


The same process described above will be followed in cases of unacceptable professional behavior. The corresponding Program Coordinator or the SBBS Dean will refer the case to the Promotions Committee. If the recommendation of the Promotion Committee is to dismiss the student, the appeal process described above will be activated.


In the event that an adverse decision is made due to non-academic reasons and the SBBS’s Dean sustains the decision after the appeal process, the student may appeal to the Vice-President for Academic Affair. Any additional appeal should be submitted to the PHSU President.


The Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs shall have primary responsibility for overseeing this policy and will provide all health sciences students a copy of this document upon admission to Ponce Health Sciences University.


The President, Vice President of Academic Affairs and the Vice President for Student Affairs, as well as the Program Dean, Registrar and Financial Aid Director will receive all pertinent data to ensure proper enforcement of the policy here set forth.

Ponce Health Sciences University is pleased that you have selected our institution to continue with your academic and professional goals. The Office of Student Financial provides you with the information and tools to assist you in reaching educational goals. Please take your time to navigate through the various links we have provided and feel free to contact the Financial Aid Office if you need more information:

Financial Aid Application Process Links
Important Links (External):

Important Links for PHSU application forms and manual

PHSU Financial Aid Application – click to download the form
– Request for Aid and Loans
– Student Authorization

Click here to download your
– Student Financial Aid Manual

Federal Financial Aid Programs

  • Direct Unsubsidized Loan: students who meet the requirements established by the US Department of Education may receive a Direct Loan, according to the academic program: graduate and professional students are eligible to receive up to $20,500 per academic year. As an institution that previously participated in the HEAL Programs our MD, Doctorate and PhD in Clinical Psychology, as well as certain Master Degree Programs might be eligible for additional amount of loan. The amount is established annually by Federal Regulations. The Financial Aid Office provides orientation about the application process for student loans, the student’s qualifying requirements and the specifics regarding interest rate, orientation fess, repayment process, etc. The student must submit an agreement form known as a Master Promissory Note, and complete electronic entrance counseling, both on-line:
  • Direct Loan-Plus Graduate Loan: This is a federal fixed-interest loan for graduate and professional students, beyond the DL Unsubsidized award, to cover any additional cost of attendance. The interest rate and origination fee, which is annually fixed by the Federal Government, begins to accrue from the date of the first disbursement. The loan qualifying process requires a credit check verification, on-line entrance counseling and an on-line submission of a Master Promissory Note:
  • Private Loans (Alternative Loans). These are credit-based loans that may be used to supplement other types of financial aid programs. The loan amounts vary according to amount requested and approved for the student. The interest rate is variable, accrued while in school and usually based on the current “Prime Rate” plus a lender’s predetermined interest rate. Repayment may be up to 20 years. These Private Alternative Loans provide funds to complete the remaining need after the student is awarded other financial aid. Due to the high interest rate that these loans represent, the student should consider these loans as a last resource to their financial need. PHSU does not recommend any specific lender, the evaluation and selection is a student’s individualized decision.
  • Historical Private Lender List
    PHSU does not deny or otherwise impede the student’s choice of an alternative lender or cause unnecessary delay in loan certification of these loans. The following is a list of the three private loans that have been most commonly selected by our students during last two previous academic years, however, we reiterate that the student may select any other lender they esteem will meet their financial need.

Other Financial Aid Options:
Military Scholarship Programs: Students interested in a military career may consider apply for one of the scholarships programs for healthcare professions offered by the US Army, the US Air Force, Navy or the National Guard. The students must contact the desired program:

National Health Services Corps Scholarship Program: available for students in the primary health care specialties and committed to serving part or their entire career in federally designated health professional shortage area. Learn more about this program at:

Financial Aid Application Process

Direct Loan Application Process
Students interested in applying for a Direct Loan must comply with the federal requirements and following requirements:

      1. Have financial need.
      2. Be an US Citizen or an Eligible Non-Citizen.
      3. Have a valid social security number.
      4. Enroll in an eligible program as a regular student working toward a degree.
      5. Meet satisfactory academic progress standards.
      6. Register (or have registered) with the Selective Service if you are a male between the ages of 18 and 25.
      7. Certify that are not in default on a federal student loan and that do not owe money on a Federal student grant.
      8. Student cannot exceed the aggregate loan limit established by the Department of Education.
      9. Comply with the Entrance Interview/Counseling.
      10. Provide all the documents and information required by the Financial Aid.

Students must fill the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the corresponding academic year, in order to be evaluated to determine eligibility for federal and state funds. It must be submitted on line at no later than last working day of April. The PHSU school code is G24824. Students need a pin number, which can be obtained at

Once the student submits the FAFSA, the Department of Education will send an Institutional Student Information Record (ISIR) to the school, which will be used for evaluation and analysis.

Students with a FAFSA application selected for verification by the Department of Education will be required to submit the following documents:

  • Complete a Verification Worksheet (provided by the Financial Aid Office)
  • Copy of the Tax Return (IRS or PR tax return form) or
  • W-2 form(s) (if apply)
  • Evidence of wages, salaries, tips, etc., reported on the FAFSA
  • Others

If the student (student’s parent or spouse) is not required to file income tax return, he/she will be required to complete and sign a Certification of Income, provided by the Financial Aid Office, among other documentation. Note: No loan will be process until the verification process is completed.

As part of the evaluation, the Financial Aid Office will take in consideration the Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The EFC is the amount that the student should contribute towards his/her cost of education, and it is determined by the Federal Government. The need analysis consists of the following basic calculation: Cost of Attendance minus EFC equals Financial Need. As part of the analysis, it will be considered any other expected financial aid (external funds such as Vocational Rehabilitation, Veteran Administration, military scholarships, and any other grant or scholarship). Note: A student cannot receive financial assistance in excess of the determined Financial Need.

Awarding and Notification
The next step is the awarding of financial aid amounts by PHSU and preparing the award notification for the student. Once the awarding process is completed, a Notification of Award is sent to each student.

Return Policy and Requirement for Withdrawal and Return of Federal Financial Aid (see PHSU catalog refund policy section)

Suspension of Eligibility for Drug-Related Offenses
If convicted of any offense involving the possession of a controlled substance, a student’s eligibility for Title IV Financial Student Aid Program will be denied for:

  • One year after the first conviction
  • Two years after the second conviction
  • Indefinitely after the third conviction

Eligibility may be restored if the student partakes of an approved Federal Government Rehabilitation Program.

Please refer to the Student Financial Aid Manual for specific information regarding all the dynamics of financial aid as it applies to new and continuing students.

Financial Aid Contact Information:

Financial Aid Personnel:
Mrs. Myrian Gaud Maitín, MBA
Financial Aid Manager

Mrs. Nicole Vázquez Colon, MSS
Financial Aid Officer

Ms. Mariannette Cruz Rentas, BS
Administrative Assistant

Office Hours
Monday to Thursday: 8:00-11:30 am – 1:00-4:30 pm
Friday: Administrative Work (By appointment only)

Financial Aid Office Contact Information
Phone Number: (787) 840-2575 ext. 2134, 2135 or 2136
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 7004, Ponce. Puerto Rico 00731
Physical Address: 388 Zona Ind. Reparada 2 Ponce PR 00716-2347

Applicants must submit the following documents:

  • Official transcript from all undergraduate and graduate universities attended
  • Letter of Recommendation Format – Written by individuals familiar with the applicant’s professional work and skills
  • Certificate of No Penal Record (Criminal Background check)
  • USD $83.00 Application Processing Fee (check or money order payable to Ponce Health Sciences University)
  • Curriculum Vitae (CV)

Deadline to submit a complete application – May 30

Procedure to Apply

Readmission Application


  • ASSMCA Drug Court
  • Canas Medical Center
  • Casa Belén- Madre Dominga Center
  • Centro de Ayuda Psicológica y Servicios Integrales (CAPSI)
  • Centro de Ayuda Víctimas de Violación (CAVV) (diferentes pueblos de PR: Ponce, Caguas, Arecibo, Fajardo y Mayagüez)
  • Centro de Consejería “El Sendero de la Cruz, Inc.” en Hato Rey
  • Centro de Recuperación del Caribe en Villalba
  • Centro de Salud Deportiva y Ciencias del Ejercicio (SADCE) Albergue Olímpico
  • Centro de Servicios Comunitarios Vida Plena en Cayey
  • Centro de Servicios Psicológicos Raigambre en Guaynabo
  • Centro Interdisciplinario de Salud Mental, CISME Inc.
  • Centro Médico en Salinas
  • Centro Ponceño de Autismo (CEPA)
  • Centro Psicológico y de Desarrollo en Aguadilla
  • Centro Psicoterapéutico Multidisciplinario Inc.
  • Clínica de Servicios Psicológicos, PHSU
  • Coalición de Coaliciones para Personas sin Hogar de PR
  • Cognitive Wellness Center, Mayagüez
  • Correctional Health Service, Cárcel las Cucharas
  • Costa Salud, Rincón
  • Descubriendo Caminos-Centros Sor Isolina Ferré
  • Faro de Esperanza
  • Fundación Forjadores de Esperanza Inc. en Canóvanas
  • Fundación Pediátrica de Diabetes, San Juan
  • Greistar Mental & Physical Health, GF Solutions
  • Grupo de Servicios Especializados en Psicología e Integrativos, Corp. (Grupo SEPI) (diferentes pueblos en PR: Bayamón, Caguas, San Lorenzo, Ponce)
  • Head Start & Early Head Start
  • Health Assessment and Psychological Innovation Gogo Pediatric Institute
  • Hospicio La Guadalupe
  • Hospital Auxilio Mutuo
  • Hospital Damas
  • Hospital del Maestro
  • Hospital Menonita en Aibonito
  • Hospital Psiquiátrico en Aibonito (CIMA)
  • Hospital Psiquiátrico Estatal de Niños y Adolescentes en Bayamón
  • Hospital Psiquiátrico Estatal, Manuel Fernández Marina, San Juan
  • Hospital San Lucas
  • Instituto de Desarrollo Integral, IDIIFCO en Guánica
  • Instituto de Medicina de Familia del Sur
  • Instituto Sexológico Educativo Psicológico (ISEP)
  • InterCede, Ponce
  • Jeshua Community Mental Health Center, Cidra
  • Love Lines
  • National University College
  • New York Foundling Head Start en Coamo
  • Ponce Hematology Oncology/Salud Holística para la Mente
  • Portal de Amor en San German
  • Programa de Re-educación y Orientación a Personas Agresoras (PROPA)
  • Programa de Recuperación, ASSMCA (diferentes pueblos de PR: Ponce, Mayagüez, Cayey, Trujillo Alto, San Patricio y Moca)
  • Programa Psicología Cuidado Primario Clínica de Inmunología
  • Restaurando Portillo
  • San Jorge Children Hospital
  • Universidad Interamericana Guayama
  • UPR Ponce
  • UPR Rio Piedras, Recinto de Ciencias Medica (RCM)
  • Wellness Center PHSU

Research Projects PhD Clinical Psychology Program

Faculty research projects for Marketing

Research projects
I. Principal investigator: Alíxida Ramos-Pibernus

A. Project title: The Role of Transgender Embodiment on Breast and Uterine Cervix Cancer Screening

i. Additional investigators: Sheilla L. Rodríguez-Madera, Eda Castro, Nelson Varas & Torsten Neilands

ii. Project description: The study aims to document barriers to breast and uterine cervix cancer screening among Trans men and Trans women in PR and FL. This study will produce knowledge addressing how transgender embodiment among Latino TW and TM influences their vulnerability to breast and uterine cervix cancer (B/UC) screening and decision-making about B/UC cancer screening. This is the only study of which we are aware to contribute to this area focusing on this population in Puerto Rico and Florida, which may lead to the development of innovative approaches to support TW and TM with culturally sensitive, tailored interventions using accessible technology (e.g. smartphones) to assist them in overcoming barriers to cancer prevention and screening (Funded by National Cancer Institute 1R21CA233449).

B. Project title: Examining Cervical Cancer Preventive Care for Latino transgender men

i. Additional investigators: Eliut Rivera Segarra

ii. Project description: The study will examine barriers and facilitators for adhering to recommended cervical cancer screening practices among LTM and examine cervical cancer prevention practices among physicians in training (Funded by American Cancer Society ACS-IRG-17-173-22).

C. Project title: A Calzón Quita’o: Sexual fantasies and the configuration of desire in Latin America

i. Additional investigators: Eliut Rivera Segarra

ii. Project description: The study seeks to document the sexual fantasies of individuals in Latin America and describe emotions associated with those sexual fantasies. The information obtained will help in the promotion of sexual health and the reduction of negative views typically associated with sexuality.

D. Project title: Physician’s migration and its implications for Puerto Rico’s Health Care System

i. Additional investigators: Sheilla L. Rodríguez-Madera, Mark Padilla, Nelson Varas & Kevin Grove

ii. Project description: The study seeks to understand the factors associated with physician’s migration and its geographical patterns, as well as its impact on Puerto Rico’s health care system (Funded by National Institute of Minorities and Health Disparities 1R01MD014188).

II. Principal investigator: Bárbara Barros

A. Project title: Quality of Life of Puerto Rican Perimenopausal and Menopausal Women

i. Additional investigators: N/A

ii. Project description: This pilot study’s central objective is to explore the quality of life of Puerto Rican women during the perimenopausal and menopausal stages. This study consists of one specific aim, to explore the menopause symptoms, the quality of life, depression and anxiety levels, self-esteem, and sexual satisfaction in perimenopausal and menopausal women.

III. Principal investigator: Caleb Esteban

A. Project title: Multidimensional Intelligences Model as a Protective Factor for the Coming Out Process

i. Additional investigators: Alixida Ramos & Juan A. González

ii. Project description: This study aims to assess the Multidimensional Model of Intelligences (MMI) to predict the growth of the divulgation of sexual orientation and the acceptance of the divulgation of sexual orientation. This study includes a multi-level biopsychosocial-ecological domain and participants will consist of Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual persons.

B. Project title: Construction and Validation of the Gender Dimensions Exploration Questionnaire

i. Additional investigators: Alixida Ramos & Juan A. González

ii. Project description: We aim to construct and validate a Gender Dimensions Exploration Questionnaire.

C. Project title: Psychologist’s Attitudes and Social Distance toward Bisexuality

i. Additional investigators: N/A

ii. Project description: We aim to measure the psychologist’s attitudes and social distance toward bisexuality.

D. Project title: Wellbeing, quality of life, and body image of intersexual persons in Puerto Rico

i. Additional investigators: N/A

ii. Project description: We aim to assess the wellbeing, quality of life, and body image of intersexual persons in Puerto Rico

IV. Principal investigator: Eida M. Castro Figueroa

A. Project title: Psycho-Oncology Research Program

i. Additional investigators: Guillerno Armaiz & Jaime Matta

ii. Project description: The primary goal of Dr. Castro’s research efforts is to contribute to the elimination of cancer health disparities among Hispanic patients and survivors. Data obtained from Dr. Castro’s research studies inform the adaptation and creation of culturally sensitive behavioral interventions and psychosocial health service programs for Hispanic Puerto Rican cancer patients and survivors. Leveraging in the partnership platform, in 2013 she initiated a line of research in psycho-oncology, psychosocial oncology care, cancer symptom management, and quality of life issues in Hispanic cancer patients and survivors. Moreover, Dr. Castro is currently conducting research studies aimed at understanding the bio-behavioral mechanisms underpinning cancer health outcomes in Hispanic cancer patients, in collaboration with Drs. Guillermo Armaiz (Cancer Biologist, PHSU) and Heather Jim (Health Outcomes and Behavior, Moffitt Cancer Center).

V. Principal investigator: Eliut Rivera-Segarra

A. Project title: Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health of healthcare workers: An international multi-site study.

i. Additional investigators: Ruthmarie Hernández; Marijulie Martínez; Ernesto Rosario-Hernández; Alíxida Ramos-Pibernus; Irma Torres; Angel Pérez; Alexandra Campis; Jessica González; Olga Rodríguez.

ii. Project description: The purpose of this study is to examine the onset and course of mental illness symptoms among frontline workers in healthcare settings during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

B. Project title: Examining Barriers and Facilitators for Seeking Primary Care Services Among People Living with Serious Mental Illness

i. Additional investigators: Leopoldo Cabassa; Analee Aponte; Luis Díaz

ii. Project description: This pre-implementation study aims to: 1) Explore barriers and facilitators for primary health care services engagement among patients living with a serious mental illness receiving services at the Wellness Center and 2) Examine the feasibility of implementing B2BHW in the Wellness Center.

C. Project title: Reducing Serious Mental Illness and Suicide Stigma Among Medical Students.

i. Additional investigators: Lawrence Yang; Yovanska Duarté-Vélez; Torsten Neilands; Paola Carminelli-Corretjer; Anaily Ocasio

ii. This project aims to develop and pilot a test via a small randomized controlled trial (RCT) of a serious mental illness (SMI) and suicide stigma reduction intervention among medical students. This intervention aims to: 1) increase medical students’ knowledge about SMI and suicide, 2) reduce negative attitudes regarding SMI and suicide, and 3) increase behavioral skills for the provision of healthcare to Latinxs with SMI and suicide ideation and attempts.

VI. Principal investigator: Ernesto Rosario-Hernández (corresponding)/ Eliut Rivera-Segarra

A. Project title: INDISPENSABLES: Non-healthcare frontline workers and their mental health during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

i. Additional investigators: Alíxida Ramos-Pibernus; Anaily Ocasio; Coral  Jiménez

ii. Project description: This study aims to document the role of social and environmental factors on the mental health outcomes of non-healthcare frontline workers (i.e. cashiers) during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

VII.  Principal investigator: Mary A. Moreno-Torres

A. Project title: Cognitive Assessment System 2: Español Psychometric Properties for children between 6 and 9 years.

i. Additional investigators: Mario Bermonti & Giselle Cordero

ii. Project description: The purpose of this study is to determine the psychometric properties of the Cognitive Assessment System 2: Español (CAS2: ES) in children between 6 and 9 years. Additionally, psychometric information will be collected about the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children – V (WISC-V) and the Batería IV.

B. Project title: Examining the Relationship between Music Training and Executive Function(s): Systematic Review

i. Additional investigators: Christian E. De León-Casillas; Andrea Díaz-García; Juan Caraballo-Soto & Charline Crespo-Tomei

ii. Project description: The purpose of this Systematic Review based on the Cochrane model is to synthesize the scientific literature that examines the effectiveness of Music Training on Executive Function(s).

C. Project title: Neurocognitive Functions and Burnout in Family Caregivers of Patients with Alzheimer’s.

i. Additional investigators: Stephanie Torres-Ramos

ii. Project description: The purpose of this pilot study is to determine the relationship between Burnout and Executive Function in family caregivers of patients with Alzheimer’s.

D. Project title: Evaluation of the Mild Cognitive and Precursors of the Parkinson Disease in Geriatric Patients

i. Additional investigators: Sofía Iglesias

ii. Project description: The purpose of this study is to expire the instruments used to evaluate cognitive deterioration in geriatric patients.

E. Project title: The Relationship Between Hypothyroidism and Neurocognitive Processes in Puerto Rican Children

i. Additional investigators: Paola Velázquez

ii. Project description: The purpose of this study is to describe the impact that has Hypothyroidism on the Neurocognitive Processes in Puerto Rican Children.

F. Project title: Pilot-Study: Neurocognitive processes and Academic Achievement in a Sample of Puerto Rican Youth Exposed to Trauma.

i. Additional investigators: Rosanna Rodríguez & Norka Polanco-Fronteras

ii. Project description: The purpose of this pilot study is to examine the cognitive abilities of planning, attention, sequential processing, and simultaneous process, as well as the learning of Puerto Rican adolescents exposed to stressful life events.

G. Project title: Systematic Review: Examine the Neurocognitive Profiles, Academic Performance and Mental Health of Adolescents Exposed to Traumatic Events

i. Additional investigators: Rosanna Rodríguez; Christian E. De León-Casillas; Johanna Rodriguez-Beato; Nicole Ruiz-Raices; Andrea Díaz-García & Matty Del Pino

ii. Project description: The purpose of this Systematic Review is to evaluate current literature examining neurocognitive profiles, and the impact of academic achievement in adolescents exposed to traumatic events.

H. Project title: Evaluating trauma profile and interventions used in a Hispanic population: A systematic review

i. Additional investigators: Michelle Carillo-Tafur; Andrea Díaz-García; Michelle Fernández-Avilés; Ana Soto-Sánchez; Rosanna Rodriguez & Christian E. De León-Casillas

ii. Project description: The purpose of this study is to adapt the Cognitive Assessment System 2: Español for Children Diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum Disorder.

I. Project title: Deficits Association in Executive Function and Comorbidity of ADHD and Autism in Children

i. Additional investigators: Laisa Forestier; Nicole Ruiz-Raices & Christian E. De León-Casillas

ii. Project description: The purpose of this Systematic Review is to identify the literature that promotes effective interventions for Children diagnosed with comorbid Attention-Deficit/Hyperactive Disorder and Autistic Spectrum Disorder.

J. Project title: Music Training for Executive Function in Children

i. Additional investigators: Christian E. De León-Casillas

ii. Project description: The purpose of this ex post facto study is to examine the relationship between Music Training and Neurocognitive Process (PASS and Executive Function) in Hispanic Children.

K. Project title: The Study of Life Experiences, Adversity, and Resilience during COVID-19 (SOLEAR COVID-19)

i. Additional investigators: N/A

ii. Project description: SOLEAR is a nested study of vulnerable children and families of the Pediatric Outcomes of Prenatal Zika Exposure (POPZE II) project. This transdisciplinary research study, sponsored by the NIH-NIMHD, aims to 1) describe multilevel stressors and needs as adverse social determinants of health (SDoH) exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic in a unique group of vulnerable children with prenatal Zika infection consequences and their families, and 2) determine the effect of COVID-19 associated stressors on the life experiences of vulnerable children and families. We expect that the responses that promote resilience will constitute a repertoire of solutions that clinical and public health providers can use to promote the health and wellbeing of families in the face of adversity.

VIII. Principal investigator: Norka Polanco-Frontera

A. Project title: DBT Research Projects

i. Additional investigators: María Garrido

ii. Project description: Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is an evidence-based model empirically documented as effective to work with patients that live with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). Nevertheless, there are no existing published studies that provide information about patients receiving DBT in the Psychological Services Center at Ponce Health Sciences University (PHSU). The objective of this study is to carry out a sociodemographic, clinical, and chronic health conditions profile of patients who receive DBT in the clinic. This work will benefit mental health professionals who offer DBT to Puerto Rican adult patients, providing them data about the common and associated factors related to BPD’s population. We also are going to create an MMPI-RF profile of the patients.

IX. Principal investigator: Normarie Torres

A. Project title: Cultural Adaptation of Meaning-Centered Psychotherapy

i. Additional investigators:

ii. Project description: The long-term goal is to develop a culturally adapted family intervention for Latinos coping with advanced cancer to improve the quality of life of the patient-caregiver dyad.

X. Principal investigator: Idhaliz Flores

A. Project title: Enriched environments: a multi-level integrative medicine intervention for endometriosis

i. Additional investigators: Barbara Barros & Eida Castro

ii. Project description: Endometriosis is a chronic inflammatory and painful condition that affects 176 million women in their reproductive years worldwide, and has substantial costs related to health care and loss in work productivity. The symptoms of endometriosis—chronic, incapacitating pain and infertility—cause high levels of stress, leading to poor quality of life (QoL) in affected women. The central objective of this study is to refine and test a multi-modal intervention based on the Environmental Enrichment (EE) paradigm tested in our animal model and translated it to the human scenario, to produce data on its effectiveness. We hypothesize that the EE interventions can be effectively adapted for women with endometriosis resulting in pain reduction and improved QoL. The proposed work will produce a clinically useful multi-level integrative medicine model to be used in stress- and inflammation-related disorders that can easily be implemented with current pharmacological interventions to alleviate pain and improve quality of life.

B. Project title: Impact of COVID-19 on endometriosis patients

i. Additional investigators: Barbara Barros & Eida Castro

ii. Project description: The central objective of this study the short-term and long-term impact of the COVID-19 related preventive measures on the symptoms, risk behaviors, stress, and mental health of women with endometriosis living in Puerto Rico. Self-reported data on symptoms and risk behaviors will be collected at 3, 6, and 12 months after the start of the lockdown (March 2020). Depression and anxiety are measured using PDQ8 and GAD7, respectively. Peri-traumatic stress is measured with the PDI.

C. Project title: Acceptability and feasibility of e-health modalities for gynecologic care among women of reproductive age

i. Additional investigators: Eida Castro

ii. Project description: The central objective of this study assess the level of acceptability and the feasibility of using e-health modalities (telemedicine, mobile apps) to monitor gynecological/reproductive health and overcome limitations in the access to gynecologic consultations during emergencies such as pandemics. We are conducting a cross-sectional study using an anonymous survey to assess if it would be acceptable for women of reproductive age to use e-health modalities for their gynecologic care, identify barriers and facilitators. In addition, we have partnered with a digital health company, Syrona, to develop an endometriosis-focused mobile app, SORA, to be used for menstrual cycle and symptom monitoring as well as to provide access to gynecologic and psychologic consultation. We will conduct a mixed-method study to assess the acceptability and feasibility of SORA for gynecologic care for this patient population. Patients will be recruited to use SORA and qualitative data on acceptability will be obtained through semi-structured interviews; quantitative data on the use of SORA will be obtained from Syrona regarding the frequency of use of SORA’s modules and functions.

D. Project title: Acceptability and feasibility of e-health modalities for gynecologic care among non-binary trans men of reproductive age

i. Additional investigators: Alixida Matos

ii. Project description: The transgender and non-binary (TGNB) community continuously experiences significant health disparities. The absence of surveys inclusive to transgender respondents of Hispanic/Latinx origin restricts the availability of data with which to estimate the magnitude of health inequities they face. Therefore, we are conducting a cross-sectional study using an anonymous survey to assess if it would be acceptable for TGNB individuals to use e-health modalities for their gynecologic care, identify barriers and facilitators for this patient population.

E. Project title: The impact of endometriosis-associated stigma among patients: a qualitative and quantitative analysis

i. Additional investigators: Eliut Rivera-Segarra; Ernesto Rosario

ii. Project description: There is a need to address psychosocial variables such as stigma and social support in diverse cultural contexts to better understand the impact of endometriosis on the psychological health of all women affected. However, no research to date has examined their role in the QoL and self-esteem of Latin American and Caribbean women with endometriosis. Thus, the purpose of this study was to examine the role of stigma and social support on the QoL and self-esteem among women with endometriosis from these world regions.

XI. Principal investigator: Ismael Castillo

A. Project title: Z-Score sLORETA Neurofeedback for stroke and TBI rehabilitation in a sample of Puerto Rican Patients

i. Additional investigators: N/A

ii. Project description: Although stroke is the first cause of long-term disability in Puerto Rico, none of the traditional treatment approaches to its rehabilitation has yet yielded satisfactory results.  Cognitive and motor impairments are highly prevalent and persistent in stroke and traumatic brain injury (TBI) survivors. Modern noninvasive neurofeedback procedures, guided by the specific assessment of electrophysiological dysregulation and subject variability, might be a promising approach for addressing cognitive-behavioral decline typically showed in stroke patients. The study will assess the effects of an innovative neurofeedback intervention on the optimization of cognitive-behavioral performance and brain electrophysiological activity, based on individual brain dynamics.

XII. Principal investigator: Jennifer Morales

A. Project title: Transcreation of a mHealth Symptom Self-Management Intervention for Hispanic Cancer Patients

i. Additional investigators: Laura Oswald (Moffit Cancer Center)

ii. Project description: The research aims to develop the first smartphone application (app) that targets patient activation to improve cancer symptom self-management for Hispanic patients. The project will transcreate an existing cancer symptom self-management app for Hispanic cancer patients. The research aims to: 1) Develop the transcreated Oleena-SP app for Hispanic cancer patients. 2)Test the feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary efficacy of Oleena-SP in a pilot RCT.

B. Project title: Revista Salud y Conducta Humana

i. Additional investigators: N/A

ii. Project description: Journal of Health and Human Behavior (Revista Salud y Conduta Humana- RSYCH) is a peer-reviewed academic journal aiming to publish students’ original articles as the first author. Publications are focus on the analysis and reflection of contemporary debates related to the fields of health and human behavior. The Journal publishes research, theoretical, literature reviews, and methodological reflections. The articles are published in regular format and brief reports from disciplines such as: psychology, neurosciences, public health, psychiatry, social work, and others. The Journal aims to: 1) Provide students space where they can publish their research work, 2) Provide students mentorship during the editorial process by experimented professionals in their respected fields, 3) Promote the communication and collaboration among disciplines related to the health and human behavior fields and 4) Disseminate the most recent advances among these disciplines. The Journal is published electronically once a year, either in Spanish or English.

C. Project title: Developing and Testing a Spanish-Language Intervention to Reduce Cancer-Related Sleep Disturbance**

i. Additional investigators: Brian Gonzalez (Moffit Cancer Center)

ii. Project description: The research aims to implement an existing intervention that has demonstrated efficacy among cancer survivors to create and test the Spanish-language Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I) in a pilot randomized clinical trial. The research aims to: 1) Gather qualitative data from cancer survivors, caregivers, and clinicians to determine the best modality to deliver the new intervention; 2) Develop a new behavioral intervention to reduce cancer-related sleep disturbance in Spanish-speaking cancer survivors; and 3) Pilot test the new intervention for feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary efficacy in a sample of N=30 participants. **This research project is supported by the PHSU and MCC partnership (#CA163068 and CA 163071) from the National Cancer Institute”

D. Project title: Exploring physical activity levels among diverse populations

i. Additional investigators: N/A

ii. Project description: Regular physical activity has been shown that improves physical and mental health. Recent studies demonstrate physical activity reduces psychological symptoms (e.g., depression, anxiety) and improving well-being, self-esteem/concept, and cognitive functions. The research aims to explore physical-activity levels, barriers, and intervention preferences in the Puerto Rican population. The study will describe physical activity levels among the diverse populations: healthy people and those with chronic health diseases (e.g., cancer, diabetes, heart conditions, etc.). The research will develop an intervention that has demonstrated efficacy to change behaviors to improve mental health and well-being.

E. Project title:

i. Additional investigators:

ii. Project description

XIII. Principal investigator: Julio Jiménez

A. Project title: U54 PSHU-MCC Partnership:

i. Additional investigators: Axel Ramos

ii. Project description: Alliance with the Moffitt Cancer Center. We run the Community Outreach Program aimed at promoting cancer prevention education and creating awareness about the importance of Precision Medicine.

B. Project title: Community Engagement Core, PSHU-RCMI

i. Additional investigators: Axel Ramos

ii. Project description: The aim of the Community Training Institute for Health Disparities is to provide education and training to members of the community who will further become community researchers and community health promoters. Likewise, the Core develops a study of needs to know the best way to assess their need and educate for the prevention of chronic diseases in disadvantaged communities.

C. Project title: CIPECA

i. Additional investigators: Axel Ramos

ii. Project description: The purpose of this committee, which is composed of young university students, is focused on educating the population of young adults to reduce risk factors for cancer.

D. Project title: Community-Academia Partnership

i. Additional investigators: Axel Ramos

ii. Project description: We have two studies directed by the community and researchers aimed at learning about risk factors associated with skin cancer and another exploring the association of depression in patients and caregivers of patients with cancer.

XIV. Principal investigator: Luisa I. Alvarado, MD & Mary Rodríguez, PsyD MSc

A. Project title: Pediatric Outcomes of Prenatal Zika Exposure II (POPZE II)

i. Additional investigators: Vanessa Rivera, PhD

ii. Project description: POPZE II is a cohort study that aims to expand knowledge of the spectrum of outcomes of congenital Zika virus (ZIKV) prenatal infection during early childhood that should translate into prevention, better practices in the provision of services and support to vulnerable children and families. Under the sponsorship of the NIH-NIMHD, the POPZE II researchers will assess pediatric outcomes through the following specific aims: 1) characterize the full spectrum of structural and functional abnormalities of children born to mothers with ZIKV during pregnancy; 2) identify environmental correlates of ZIKV consequences on the developing brain, and 3) assess health equity by examining access and quality of health care services to identify best practices that can inform public health policy. The research team includes collaborators from pediatrics, clinical psychology, and basic sciences PHSU departments. We are confident that lessons from health equity can empower families to overcome the limitations posed by their child’s congenital anomalies and developmental disabilities and increase awareness of health care providers to remove barriers to access and improve adherence.

XV. Principal investigator: Mario Bermonti-Pérez

A. Project title: Efficacy of a computerized intervention to improve spelling skills

i. Additional investigators: Giselle Cordero-Arroyo

ii. Project description: The purpose of this study is to explore the efficacy of a computerized intervention to improve the spelling skills of elementary-school-age children. In this quantitative study, we implemented a single-subject design in which fourth-grade students completed weekly sessions of intervention and a computerized spelling test.

B. Project title: Methodological and statistical components of technology-based interventions to improve reading skills

i. Additional investigators: Giselle Cordero-Arroyo

ii. Project description: The purpose of this systematic review is to examine the methodological and statistical components of technology-based interventions designed to improve the reading skills of children.

C. Project title: Relationship between the phonological loop and Spanish spelling skills

i. Additional investigators: Vicmarie Vargas & Giselle Cordero-Arroyo

ii. Project description: The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship between phonological loop (working memory) and Spanish spelling skills. In this quantitative research study, we will administer cognitive tasks (computer-based) and paper-and-pencil spelling tests to elementary-school-age children.

D. Project title: Response modality effects on spelling performance of Spanish-speaking elementary-school children

i. Additional investigators: Giselle Cordero-Arroyo

ii. Project description: This study aims to examine if there are differences in the spelling skills performance of Spanish-speaking elementary-school-age children when they complete spelling tests using traditional, paper-and-pencil tests, compared to computerized spelling tests. We will also examine if these differences are maintained after controlling for keyboard proficiency.




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