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Op-Ed: PSHU’s $72M investment a boost to Puerto Rico’s healthcare education, research

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Ponce Health Sciences University (PHSU) will soon break ground on a new academic building. With an investment of $72 million, this project will generate 485 direct and 1,090 indirect jobs in Puerto Rico.

The new development is part of a larger-scale campus expansion that includes a parking garage and student housing and other projects; an investment that totals $172 million.

This expansion project represents a significant injection to the local economy in a critical moment that calls for investments to improve infrastructure, as well as medium- and long-term economic and social development.

On the academic side, PHSU’s extended capacity will allow us to educate new generations of healthcare professionals. In turn, this helps us further our vision of ensuring that Puerto Rico, the United States, and the world have greater access to dedicated, bilingual healthcare practitioners who are culturally competent and committed to the communities they serve.

This is a moment we have been planning and working toward for more than five years. While COVID-19 protocols and safety measures prevent us from gathering in person today, we can´t hold back our excitement, which we proudly share with our community, friends, colleagues, and partners, all of whom have helped make this project possible.

Puerto Rico’s overall infrastructure (healthcare included) has greatly deteriorated as result of a series of consecutive catastrophic events that started with hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017. Earlier this year, a 6.4-magnitude earthquake affected the southwestern part of the island, further damaging the existing and remaining buildings.

Most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted an unprecedented lockdown period with a disastrous halt in economic activity.

PHSU’s significant investment helps offset that downward spiral. As projected by research firm Estudios Técnicos in an independent economic impact study, PHSU’s expansion will generate $401.6 million in new economic activity, supporting or creating 1,282 jobs with a payroll of $91.4 million. Furthermore, the firm estimates that the project will contribute $21 million in new tax revenue to Puerto Rico and to the city of Ponce, during the construction phase alone.  

We have met that goal, but our vision has always been to create a campus atmosphere conducive to the way we educate and learn. The only way to accomplish this was to create a new master plan for the university.

Author David Lenihan is President and CEO of Ponce Health Sciences University.

The first step in that plan was to raise an academic building that would house all our programs and issue in the future of PHSU. We expect to inaugurate this academic building by the Fall 2022 semester.

However, the vision is broader and it contemplates adding more than 125,000 square feet of classrooms, clinical and administrative space, a multi-purpose garage structure, and a bridge connecting DAMAS Hospital to the PHSU campus, opening opportunities for a vast number of new university-led research initiatives that will help develop health professionals and scientific research for Puerto Rico and for the world.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is sponsored by Ponce Health Sciences University.]

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.
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