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Program Description

The Medical Education Program at Ponce Health Sciences University (PHSU-SOM) is a 4-year program with emphasis in primary care and duration of 166 weeks. It grants a doctor of medicine degree (MD degree). The Program consists of two years of pre-clinical (basic science) courses in the core disciplines of Gross Anatomy, Histology and Cell Biology, Biochemistry, Physiology, Pathology, Pharmacology, Microbiology/Immunology and Neurosciences.

The pre-clinical years provide integration of clinical content and early clinical experiences through Pathophysiology, Introduction to Clinical Medicine, Behavioral Sciences and Basic Psychiatry. Longitudinal programs in Preventive and Community Medicine, Problem-Based Learning, Geriatrics and Medical Ethics are integrated in the educational program of the first two years.

The third year provides the core clinical clerkships, Pediatrics, Internal Medicine, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Family Medicine, Psychiatry and Surgery. The fourth year complements these core clinical experiences with Internal Medicine, Emergency Medicine, Radiology, Surgical Subspecialties and Primary Care Selective. Five months of elective rotations provide additional clinical experiences in several subspecialty fields.


To provide a culturally-competent medical education that generates high impact research and clinical services to the populations we serve. We will accomplish our mission by promoting diversity in our student and faculty bodies while offering a rich interdisciplinary environment that delivers an innovative, technology-driven health sciences curriculum that prepares students to be ethical practitioners and scientists.


To be recognized as a world leader in the delivery of bilingual culturally-competent medical education.

Medical Education Program Objectives

  1. Medical Knowledge:  Medical student must demonstrate knowledge about established and evolving biomedical, clinical, epidemiological and socio-behavioral sciences as well as the application of this knowledge to patient care. By the time of graduation, students are expected to:
      1. Explain the normal structure and function of the body and of each of its major organ systems; as well as the molecular, biochemical and cellular mechanisms that are important in maintaining the body’s homeostasis. 
      2. Explain the genetic, developmental, metabolic, toxic, microbiologic, autoimmune, neoplastic, degenerative and traumatic causes of disease states and their pathogenesis.
      3. Identify epidemiological and other factors that place individuals at risk for disease or injury, select appropriate tests for detecting risks and determine preventive strategies for responding appropriately.
      4. Interpret the results of commonly used diagnostic studies.
      5. Formulate appropriate management strategies in the care for patients with common conditions, both acute and chronic, including pain and rehabilitation.
      6. Describe the mechanisms by which therapeutic agents work and apply the principles of pharmacology in patient care.
  2. Patient CareStudents must be able to provide patient care that is compassionate, appropriate and effective for the promotion of health and for the treatment of health problems.

    By the time of graduation, students are expected to:

    1. Demonstrate caring and respectful behaviors when interacting with patients and their families.
    2. Obtain a complete and accurate medical history that covers all the essential aspects of the history taking in a patient-centered interview.  Identify health issues and correlate with patient’s age, gender, cultural, spiritual beliefs, psychological and socio-economic status.
    3. Perform a comprehensive and/or a problem-focused physical examination, including a mental status examination and accurately interpret the findings.
    4. Formulate, using clinical reasoning an initial diagnostic impression and differential diagnosis.
    5. Recommend appropriate diagnostic studies and therapeutic management plan based on patient information and preferences, current scientific evidence and clinical judgment.
    6. Perform or assist during routine technical procedures, including but not limited to: venous and arterial puncture; placement of an intravenous line, transurethral and nasogastric catheters and suturing of simple wounds.
    7. Recognize patients with life threatening conditions, with serious physical and or mental acute/chronic conditions in need of critical care and institute appropriate initial therapy.
    8. Counsel and educate patients care givers and families about patient’s condition and aspects of health promotion and prevention.
    9. Solve clinical problems in the context of culture, psychological, socio-economic status and the spiritual-health beliefs and needs of the patient. 
  3. Interpersonal and Communication SkillsStudents must demonstrate interpersonal and communication skills that result in the effective interchange of information and collaboration with patients, their families and health professionals.By the time of graduation, students are expected to:
    1. Develop a team relationship with patients and their families to provide patient centered care.
    2. Use a patient centered approach with effective listening and communication skills during the medical interview.
    3. Demonstrate effective oral and written communication skills in English and Spanish, with patients, their families and health professionals. 
    4. Document patient information in a comprehensive, timely and legible electronic or written medical record.
    5. Demonstrate leadership skills as a member of a health care team and other professional groups.
    6. Demonstrate effective interaction with colleagues and health care professionals to provide patient-centered care.
  4. Practice-based Learning and ImprovementStudents must be able to investigate and evaluate their care of patients, appraise and assimilate scientific evidence and continuously improve patient care based on constant self-evaluation and life-long learning.By the time of graduation, students are expected to:
    1. Demonstrate capacity to accept personal limitations and continuously improve one’s medical knowledge and clinical skills.
    2. Identify the information resources and tools available to support life-long learning and self-improvement.
    3. Review and incorporate the most current and relevant evidence based information in the diagnosis and management of patients.
    4. Explain how to conduct clinical and translational research, its scientific and ethical principles and apply the results and evidence derived from those studies to patient care.
  5. Systems-based Practice: Students must demonstrate an awareness of and responsiveness to the larger context and system of health care and the ability to effectively call on system resources to provide care that is of optimal value.By the time of graduation, students are expected to:
    1. Work effectively in various health care delivery systems.
    2. Deliver patient care according to the regulations and resources of health care systems.
    3. Advocate for quality patient care and assist patients in dealing with system complexities.
    4. Promote cost-effective health care and optimal resources allocation.
    5. Formulate appropriate management strategies for patients with clinical conditions that require short and long-term rehabilitation.
    6. Identify and assess factors that place patient’s safety at risk and select appropriate interventions to minimize them
    7. Collaborate with colleagues, health care providers and other professionals to assess and coordinate patient care.
  6. Professionalism: Students must demonstrate a commitment to carrying out professional responsibilities, adherence to ethical principles and sensitivity to a diverse patient population.By the time of graduation, students are expected to:
  7. Recognize ethical and legal dilemmas in medicine and demonstrate commitment to ethical principles.
  8. Demonstrate sensitivity to the diversity of patient population, including, but not limited to differences in culture, social status, gender, sexual orientation and health beliefs. 
  9. Demonstrate understanding of and respect for the roles of other health care professionals.
  10. Demonstrate honesty, integrity and respectful behavior in all interactions with patients and families, peers, preceptors, members of the healthcare team and others.
  11. Demonstrate compassionate treatment of patients, respect and sensitivity for their privacy and dignity.
  12. Recognize the threats posed by conflicts of interest and advocate for patients’ interest over one’s own
  13. Demonstrate respect for patient’s autonomy in decision making.

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