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Doctor in Philosophy in Clinical Psychology
(PhD)

MISSION STATEMENT

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.

Program Description

The doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology (PsyD) has its theoretical foundations in the Biopsychosocial model and aims at preparing Health Services Psychologist.  To reach its goals, the program adscribes to the Practitioner/Scholar model of training in professional psychology. The program’s curriculum is competency-based emphasizing on the development of the clinical competencies used by practicing and academically oriented Clinical Psychologist and these are consonant with APA accreditation standards. The curriculum is implemented in a lock-step manner allowing students to acquire these clinical competencies in a graded and sequential manner.  Therefore, the student progresses from an entry level through an intermediate level up to the advanced level of competencies achieved upon completing the academic program and the one-year full-time clinical internship.

ACCREDITATION

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: apaaccred@apa.org
Web: www.apa.org/ed/accreditation

Program Aims

The program aims 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.

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.

Consultation

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

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

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.

 

 

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

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.

 

 

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.

 

 

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.

 

 

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:
CourseCredits
General Psychology3
Developmental Psychology3
Abnormal Psychology (Psychopathology)3
Experimental Psychology (or Scientific Research)3
Statistics3
  • GPA – 3.00 or above (on a four-point scale)
  • 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.
    • 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.

For more details of PHSU tuition and fees please refer to: This Section

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: psmfinstu@psm.edu
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: www.studentloans.gov.
  • 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: www.studentloans.gov
  • 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: nhsc.bhpr.hrsa.gov
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 www.fafsa.gov no later than last working day of April. The PHSU school code is G24824. Students need a pin number, which can be obtained at www.pin.ed.gov.
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.
VERIFICATION
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.
NEED ANALYSIS
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
mgaud@psm.edu
Mrs. Nicole Vázquez Colon, MSS
Financial Aid Officer
nivazquez@psm.edu
Ms. Mariannette Cruz Rentas, BS
Administrative Assistant
macruz@psm.edu
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
E-mail: psmfinstu@psm.edu
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 7004, Ponce. Puerto Rico 00731
Physical Address: 388 Zona Ind. Reparada 2 Ponce PR 00716-2347

How to Apply

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 $85.00 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

Links & Manuals

  • 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

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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