Since its foundation in 1978, our medical school has demonstrated both in its vision, mission, and strategic plans its long-standing, institutional commitment to partnering with the community it serves to identify and address community needs. As asserted in our Mission statement: “The school’s special interest is centered on community health, conducting research on translational community medicine, and on graduating physicians and other health professionals who are responsive to the health needs of underserved and medically vulnerable populations.”

Community Medicine Program
Community Medicine Program
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The Community Medicine Program integrates our institutional efforts to promote a culture of community engagement across all our programs through the creation of spaces and opportunities for service learning and research, interprofessional education, and reinforcement of diversity and inclusion. We continue to strengthen and expand the impact of the Community Medicine Program with initiatives directed to improve the life of our communities and to educate students for civic and social responsibility, and establish relationships with organizations, public officials, and community partners. 

As such, SJBSM fully endorsed and supported the development of the Puerto Rico Health Justice Center to serve a population in great need of services: victims and survivors of sexual abuse. The PRHJC works together with our Community Medicine Program in the planning of interdisciplinary activities for service learning and interdisciplinary research for our students. (Facebook: Puerto Rico Health Justice Center; Twitter: @PRHealthJustice; SJBSM Web: PR Health Justice Center) 

The Health Humanities Program provides support to SJBSM in recognizing the importance of humanism and selfless servicemoving forward with activities to promote our institutional community engagement efforts. We believe that integration of the arts and humanities in medicine and the health professions will have better outcomes in empathy, resilience, and teamwork. It will also help in the development of visual diagnostic skills, tolerance for ambiguity, interest in communication skills, ethical decision making, sensitivity towards diversity, and the ability to apply knowledge in real-world settings.

We are proud of the work of our Student Associations in supporting our Faculty community engagement efforts through a close relationship with our Community Medicine Program and Health Humanities Program, such as starting preventive health clinics for homeless people and people in need of health care and, humanities based activities directed to promote wellness and mental health.  Their experiences range from educating kids on the importance of nutrition, hygiene, and other topics to serving as volunteers in clinics, HIV centers, nursing homes, always serving those in need. 

This mission of service, community engagement, and integrated planning across all our programs facilitated our institution’s Early Disaster Responses. Our response in offering disaster relief efforts was immediately following hurricanes and earthquakes, and most recently, implementing strategies to face a global pandemic. Our compromise continues to be encouraging faculty and students to be active leaders in the community to bring changes in difficult times and to improve public health. 

SJBSM community engagement has been recognized with several distinctions such as the President Obama’s Community Service Honor Roll 2009, students’ distinctions for community service and leadership and most recently the AAMC special recognition award for the remarkable recovery efforts after the impact of Hurricanes Irma and Maria.