PAEA 50th Anniversary: Fast Facts About the San Juan Bautista School of Medicine in Puerto Rico

Fast facts about the San Juan Bautista School of Medicine PA Program

Courtesy of Melissa Hurtado

Program Name & Location:  San Juan Bautista School of Medicine in Puerto Rico.

Program mission, vision & values: Educate and graduate capable students to meet the challenges of providing primary health care services as members of the health care team.

What year did your program welcome its first class of students: 2021

Key milestones in your program’s history: First PA program in Puerto Rico approved by the ARC-PA.

How many students have graduated to date: The first class is set to graduate in May of 2023 with 24 students

How has your program grown from the first class to today: The first cohort has been a success in advancing to their clinical year. We are currently in our clinical rotations, looking forward to what the future holds for PAs in Puerto Rico. A second cohort has started their didactic year as well.

How has your program contributed to creating a more diverse, just, and equitable profession: It is a huge milestone to introduce our profession to this beautiful Island in need. The PA profession makes history once again in an area where primary care is highly needed. Events such as Hurricane Maria and the COVID pandemic have left the people of Puerto Rico without providers. Many of them are thankful to see students who will care for them in the near future.

How have your faculty or students advocated for the PA profession: Students have attended many events alongside the Medical School at SJB to advocate for the PA profession. Students in our program have been a part of the development of “Academia de Medicos Asociados de Puerto Rico”

How do you envision the next 50 years of your program: I see the expansion of our career expanding in other nearby countries. The need for PAs globally is becoming evident and I foresee patients care improving in many areas where medical providers are lacking.

Are you a developing program? If so, tell us about your plans: Yes, our program continues to evolve as we prepare the first graduating class in May 2023. We are all very eager to continue the growth of our program with the second cohort on their way to finishing the didactic year. We have set up ways to support our program personally and academically.