The mission of School of Medicine of Ponce Health Sciences University is to provide high quality education in medicine to the population we serve, through an innovative curriculum, while preparing students to be ethical practitioners. Our institution strives to provide students and faculty an exposure to a diverse population so they can succeed in an increasingly diverse workplace and global communication culture.

In the publication of the Association of American Medical Colleges, Roadmap to Diversity, in its second edition of 2014, it is exposed that a key driver for high-quality health care in this time of unequal access to health care, is to educate a culturally competent, inclusive physicians. They state: “A shared objective of the majority of U.S. medical schools is to arrive at a destination where a diverse class—including a racially and ethnically diverse class—enhances teaching and learning for all students and contributes to graduates’ capacity to provide comprehensive, high-quality medical care in all communities.” An academic environment that fosters the interaction among a diverse student and faculty body will significantly contribute to prepare our graduates to provide the high quality care all communities deserved.

Several racial and ethnic minority groups as well as people from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds are significantly underrepresented among health professionals in the United States. Underrepresented minority groups have traditionally included African-Americans, Mexican Americans, Native Americans, and mainland Puerto Ricans. Numerous public and private programs aim to remedy this underrepresentation by promoting the preparedness and resources available to minority and socioeconomically disadvantaged health professions candidates, and the admissions and retention of these candidates in the health professions pipeline and workforce.

Being Ponce Health Sciences University School of Medicine a medical school in Puerto Rico, in accordance to the mission “to provide high quality education to the population we serve” our students and faculty members are mainly Puerto Ricans and Hispanics for which one of the groups we define as diverse for our academic community of students, faculty and administrators is Non-Hispanic group. Anyone who is not from Hispanic or Latino origin/ethnicity adds diversity to our academic environment.

The MD Students Admission Committee had already identified diversity as a desirable characteristic in the student body in its policy: The school values having a diverse student population from all areas of the country and therefore accepts candidates from the mainland; nontraditional academic background; etc. When completing the medical career, our students are better equipped to care for patients in a diverse society.

Two other groups that will add diversity in our student body and eventually to the physicians’ workforce are low socioeconomic status and first generation university students. We strongly believe that having these groups represented among our students will help prepared our graduates to better address the issues related to health disparities in our communities. The Junta de Planificación de Puerto Rico defines low socioeconomic status when individual or family income is under $19,000.00 annually. First generation university students are those whose parent neither have nor attained a college degree.

All administrative and academic units of the medical education program will develop programs, partnerships and make ongoing systematic efforts for to enhance the recruitment and retention of the diverse groups identified in this policy to our student body, faculty and senior administrative staff. They also should document and monitor these efforts and its effectiveness in achieving representation of these groups in our academic community.

Approved by the Medicine Program Policy Committee 12-12-2014

Legal Review 1-30-2015


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