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Hurricane Response: Information for Students, Faculty and Staff

Updated October 13, 2017:

Given the unprecedented events following Hurricane Maria, our thoughts are with our colleagues--leadership, faculty, students, staff, and others--at the four LCME-accredited U.S. medical schools in Puerto Rico.

The deans of these schools--Ponce Health Sciences University School of Medicine, San Juan Bautista School of Medicine, Universidad Central del Caribe School of Medicine, and University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine--are currently prioritizing the short- and long-term needs of students in each of the four years of their educational programs.

Due to the current state of the infrastructure in Puerto Rico, communication has been a challenge for these institutions. The AAMC is making news and information, provided to us by school leadership, available on their behalf:

Ponce Health Sciences University School of Medicine

As of October 12:

Classes for students in the pre-clinical years will begin on October 16 on campus in Puerto Rico.

Third-year students reported to campus on October 11 to complete the clerkships interrupted by the hurricane, and the next clerkship schedule begins October 16.

With permission and pre-arrangement from the medical school administration, some students currently in the mainland U.S. will complete their next 8-week clerkship session in Florida, in coordination with the University of South Florida.

Fourth-year medical students reported to their assigned clinical sites on October 9.

School administrators are working with students on an as-needed basis to ensure that every student has a safe living environment.

Notice for undergraduate students: The deadline for applications through AMCAS® to Ponce School of Medicine has been extended to January 15.

San Juan Bautista School of Medicine

As of October 6:

The San Juan Bautista School of Medicine campus is safe and functioning. Academic programs will be reinstated on Monday, October 9. Students who are currently on the mainland United States may contact Dr. Maldonado, Dr. Ramos and/or Dr. Miranda for details regarding their program.

Notice for undergraduate students: The deadline for applications through AMCAS® to San Juan Bautista School of Medicine has been extended to January 15.

Universidad Central del Caribe School of Medicine

As of October 6:

Notice for undergraduate students: The deadline for applications through AMCAS® to Universidad Central del Caribe School of Medicine has been extended to January 15.

Additional information from the medical school coming soon…

University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine

As of October 6:

The University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine is fully operational. Classes for all students begin on Monday, October 9.

Notice for undergraduate students: The deadline for applications through AMCAS® to University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine has been extended to January 15.

Information for Medical Students:


If you are a student at one of these Puerto Rico medical schools, it is important that you continue to try to make contact with your own school. The AAMC is not in a position to assist individual students directly; we cannot authorize or grant approval for any individual’s academic placement including third-year clerkships, fourth-year electives, or transfers. These actions MUST be coordinated and approved between institutions. We are working with schools to help support and facilitate each school’s solutions for its students where possible.

Information for Users of ERAS®, AMCAS®, and VSAS®:


Students, residents, faculty, and others affected by Hurricane Maria may not have ready access to AAMC services, including our medical school application service (AMCAS®), residency application service (ERAS®), and visiting student application service (VSAS®). The AAMC stands ready to work with individual users and member institutions to ensure that they establish access to the tools they need during this time. For assistance contact: ERAS at 202-862-6264 or by going to ERAS Help Desk; VSAS at 202-478-9878 or vsas@aamc.org; or AMCAS at 202-828-0600 or amcas@aamc.org. For all other issues, call our main reception desk at 202-828-0400 and we can route your call.

Information for Residency Applicants and Programs:

At the request of the deans of the four medical schools in Puerto Rico, the AAMC has contacted the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) and other members of the graduate medical education community (program directors, designated institutional officials) to make them aware of the impact of the hurricane. Specifically, there will likely be delays with student and faculty submission of required application elements (e.g., letters of recommendation, MSPEs) to ERAS, and delays with responsiveness to any outreach from programs to applicants. While residency application-related materials and communications might be delayed, the deans request that programs consider affected applicants nonetheless. 

Information for MCAT® Examinees:


In addition, MCAT® test centers in Puerto Rico and other hurricane-affected areas are closed. The AAMC is working with individuals affected by these closures to reschedule their exams. Frequent updates are available here: www.aamc.org/mcat

The AAMC has a crisis response team meeting regularly to monitor the situation in Puerto Rico and formulate plans as needed to help affected member institutions and to put in place contingency plans for some AAMC services and programs.

Information for AMCAS Applicants:

We are aware that undergraduate students from Puerto Rico are concerned about the status of their applications to medical schools for the current AMCAS admissions cycle. The devastating effect of the hurricane will likely cause delays in applicants submitting required application elements (e.g., letters of recommendation, transcripts). Colleges and universities in Puerto Rico likely face similar delays in their ability to provide transcripts or confirm records on behalf of their students. On their behalf, the AAMC has contacted the medical school admissions community to request that medical schools take into consideration the impact of the hurricane when considering applicants from Puerto Rico. While application material might be delayed, these students and their pre-med advisors request that admissions offices consider those applications nonetheless.

Resources

Academic Medicine Community Responds to Devastation Caused by Hurricanes (AAMCNews)


Assistance Efforts

The AAMC is making a contribution to the American Red Cross to support hurricane relief efforts.

The government of Puerto Rico has recommended that donations be directed to United for Puerto Rico.