The San Juan Bautista School of Medicine (SJBSM) was founded in 1978 with the mission to advance the health of the community by focusing on community medicine and the need for having more physicians serving vulnerable and medically underserved populations. The School was first located in San Juan, the capital of Puerto Rico, which was originally named San Juan Bautista by the Spaniards. On June 22, 1979, it was authorized by the Puerto Rico Council on Education to offer studies leading to the M.D. degree; in 2010, the institution’s educational license was amended to include the Master in Public Health (MPH) program, and a Bachelor in Science of Nursing (BSN) program. The School is a private, non-profit institution, incorporated as such with the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. A Board of Trustees governs the SJBSM and ensures that the institution fully complies with its mission and vision. The board is comprised of six elected members, and delegates in the President/Dean all actions pertaining to the appointment of deans, faculty, and administrative personnel.

The SJBSM has continued to develop through the years. In 1998, it moved its facilities to the city of Caguas, one of the most important urban centers in Puerto Rico, with a population of 150,000. Caguas is located in the East-Central region of the island, 18 miles south of San Juan, the capital of Puerto Rico. Due to its privileged location, the city is easily accessible through ports and airport facilities, thus permitting fast and convenient transport. This location facilitates commercial, individual and tourist expansion activities.

In June 2004, the Middle States Association-Commission on Higher Education granted accreditation to the School, re-accreditation was granted in 2010 for ten years; with the next accreditation visit scheduled for 2019-2020. Accreditation to the medical program was granted by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) in 2007. The next LCME accreditation visit is scheduled for 2016-2017.

Public Law 136 (July 17, 2006) created the Central Regional Academic Medical Centers (CRAMC) in Puerto Rico. CRAMCs are organized to support accredited medical schools in providing clinical experiences to students and assure compliance with the corresponding accreditation standards. Under PL 136 a medical school in partnership with a hospital facility, or other affiliated healthcare organizations, structure and oversee a regional academic medical center. The San Juan Bautista School of Medicine and the Mennonite Health System (MHS) have joined efforts to re-structure and further develop CRAMC’s services and facilities, ensuring the availability of teaching sites for clerkships. CRAMC’s also facilitate the hands-on clinical training in settings with diverse patient populations with varied medical conditions. At the same time, CRAMC’s and their surrounding communities and medically underserved have access to quality healthcare services delivered at the academic medical center. MHS’s teaching facilities are under the supervision and administration of the MHS Chief Executive Officer (MHS-CEO), there is direct communication, interaction, and cooperation between the SJBSM President/Dean and the MHS-CEO.

At present, the SJBSM academic offer is comprised of graduate and undergraduate programs: Medical Doctor (MD), Master in Public Health (MPH evening program) and Bachelor in Science of Nursing (BSN).

A great deal has changed in the 37 years since the SJBSM was founded, however, the commitment to serve the community and the medically underserved has not changed.