Ponce Health Sciences Univ. expands medicine program to St. Louis
The Ponce Health Sciences University School of Medicine announced that the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) — the entity that accredits medical schools in the United States and Canada — approved the expansion of its Doctor of Medicine (MD) program to its campus in St. Louis, MO.
This pushes PHSU’s medicine program from 150 to 180 students. Its medical education program in St. Louis begins in August 2022, school officials said.
“Expanding our medical program to St. Louis will add to the institution’s undeniable record of graduating physicians from diverse backgrounds and gaining admission to highly competitive medical residency programs such as radiology, orthopedics, dermatology, and ophthalmology, while providing to doctors the cultural competencies that are critical to developing a medical workforce that represents communities across the nation and around the world, ”said Olga Rodríguez de Arzola, dean of the PHSU School of Medicine.
She also said it is expected that by 2033, there will be a shortage of more than 55,000 primary care physicians and 86,000 specialist physicians if the issue of medical training is not addressed.
That shortage is even starker among Hispanic physicians and physicians of color, where the diversity of the medical community fails to represent the growing diversity of the United States. In 2018, only 5.8% of physicians identified as Hispanic and 5% of physicians identified as Black or African American.
“Today’s medical students need two things: first, a high-quality education that prepares them to serve patients adequately, and second, the kind of cultural education that enables them to work successfully with patients from a diverse variety of backgrounds around the world,” said PSHU President David Lenihan.