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Without the Campus of Medical Sciences, there is no health - Metro Puerto Rico

Without the Campus of Medical Sciences, there is no health – Metro Puerto Rico

In 1986 I had the honor of being accepted into the University of Puerto Rico (UPR), Río Piedras Campus. A proud volume of a young graduate from the country’s public education system and the first generation of students in my family. At UIPI I did my undergraduate and graduate studies in Clinical Psychology. I have no doubt that I received the best education a person could hope for.

After doing my internship with the Department of Psychiatry at the Campus of Medical Sciences (RCM), they recruited me to work there as a clinical coordinator, and then as a faculty member, which is another source of pride for me. I joined the UPR governance forums from the Academic Senate, University Council, and Board of Directors and chaired the institution from 2021 to 2022, 11 months to be exact. This is while a search and consultation process was conducted for the Presidency of the Republic. I understand presiding over one of the most difficult moments for the Foundation, if not the most difficult for me. I accepted the challenge with confidence, a desire to contribute to my alma mater, and because I am convinced that the UPR, as Los López Baralt put it, “was our best invention as a country.”

I struggled for 11 months with my staff to achieve a fair budget for the UPR, knowing that the JSF was not an ally of the institution. My first undertaking after looking at the organization’s financials was to start a direct conversation with the Board of Directors, supported by our finance team. We started the fight that allowed us to bring in additional funds to the entire UPR system, and especially to the RCM, to deal with previous cuts and accreditation problems it was having. Among other issues, funds were raised to increase the salaries of the residents who run the medical center and money for the college that supervises those residents in the medical and dental fields. At the same time, I visited the legislative and executive branches to seek to halt the cuts and allocate more economic resources to us.

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At the end of the day, more money was raised for the UPR, more money was allocated to all universities and units, and we achieved a budget without a deficit. My fiduciary duty led me to make tough but fair decisions with all components of the university community. I have maintained my commitment to honesty and transparency in the use of treasury funds. I did not make economic commitments for which there was no support or which the Board could reverse because it would not approve them.

It has applied continuous dialogue as a foundation for conflict prevention, management and resolution throughout the UPR system, bringing all sectors of the university community to the negotiating table. You have shown that more is achieved together. This was a key factor in resolving disputes, strikes, and student demonstrations. We launch too UPR listenA portal for the community to provide suggestions and resources to help the university meet its daily challenges.

Transparency in management is vital. The local community was made aware of the efforts that had been undertaken; The budget has been drafted in central management in liaison with universities and units, without intermediaries or external consultants, with real knowledge of what is being done in the UPR and in recognition of the importance of our human capital, student services and our faculty.

Under these same terms, and with the obligation to work diligently for the welfare of the Red Cross machinery, I aspire to occupy the rectory. Our students are our raison d’être and I firmly believe that all modifications or changes on campus are intended to help them achieve their goals and obtain the best education they can aspire to. These health professionals that we train here are the ones that keep our people healthy. We must work with our campuses and our country to prevent their exodus. It is urgent to seek better working conditions because the health of our residents depends on this group of upright, committed and equipped professionals. Without RCM there is no health in Puerto Rico.

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