Brief History of the UPR GSPH and the MHSA Program

The Graduate School of Public Health had its origin in the School of Tropical Medicine, which was founded in 1926 with support from the Rockefeller Foundation and under the auspices of Columbia University. The School of Tropical Medicine soon became a renowned center for research and postgraduate studies. In 1941, at the request of the Department of Health, the School of Tropical Medicine developed graduate courses in the field of public health. These were primarily courses in sanitary engineering leading to a Master in Sanitary Sciences developed as a response to the need for specialized personnel in that area. Subsequently, programs toward the Master in Public Health, Master in Health Education, and Master in Nursing were developed. On May 15, 1949, Public Law No.378 authorizing the creation of a School of Medicine at the University of Puerto Rico was approved by the legislature. The School was organized and began operations in the fall of 1950. The Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health was part of the School of Medicine from its inception.  It offered courses in preventive medicine and public health to medical students. In 1955, the Council on Education accredited the Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health as a school of public health for Public Health (CEPH).

In 1956, it assumed an important role in the regionalization of health services in the Island, a plan by which primary, secondary, and tertiary care services are delivered in a coordinated fashion throughout the Island in order to maximize utilization of resources. The School’s primary role has been one of training the necessary human resources to deliver many of these services, and one of assessing health needs in the community in order to respond with relevant curricular changes. The Program was established in 1966 and approved by the Council on Higher Education of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico on June 12, 1967 (Certification No. 103). The Health Services Administration Program began in the month of August of the Academic Year 1966-1967 in the School of Tropical Medicine in the Old San Juan.  In May of 1968 it graduated its first class. A total of fifteen new health services administrators began the arduous task improving the managerial function of our local hospitals. In 1969, the MHSA Program received its first accreditation.

On January 27, 1970, the Council on Higher Education authorized, by Certification No. 42, creation of the Faculty of Public Health of the Medical Sciences Campus of the University of Puerto Rico. The School thus gained independent status. At the time there were thirteen academic programs that reflected the School’s philosophy and sense under mission, including the MHSA program. In 1972, the Medical Sciences Campus moved from the old building of the School of Tropical Medicine in San Juan to a new 10-story building near the University Hospital and other health institutions within the Puerto Rico Medical Center in Río Piedras. That same year the Graduate School of Public Health moved to its new facilities within that structure. In 1976, following Certification No.4 of the Council on Higher Education, which called for a total reorganization of the Medical Sciences Campus, a new organization for the School, was proposed. The following departments were established: Department of Environmental Health, Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, Department of Social Sciences, and Department of Administration.

The MHSA Program of the University of Puerto Rico, Graduate School of Public Health established its Vision, Mission, Goals and Objectives statement in June 2007, after an assessment based on internal and external inputs from the program’s primary constituencies. The Vision, Mission, Goals and Objectives statement that follows has been instrumental in guiding the program through its educational, service and research activities were reviewed and update during AY 2012-2013.

Mission: Develop through scholarly and service activities, professionals with public health knowledge and the managerial skills required to positively impact the health of the community.

Vision: To be the excellent leading Program that guides health administrators in meeting the challenges and finding innovative solutions in the provision of health services.

Values: Leadership, Integrity, Responsibility, Respect, Diversity, Excellence, Teamwork.



The Program’s goals and objectives comprise the three basic components of our mission: teaching, research and community service. The goals provide areas of emphasis and the objectives help reconcile our performance with our aspirations, providing the means for our outcome measures.


Teaching Goal

Develop highly qualified health services administrators through academic experiences that facilitate the students’ development of knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviors needed to leadership positions for the health care delivery system.


Teaching Objectives

  1. Enhance the student ability to communicate clearly and concisely with internal and external customers in the healthcare environment.
  2. Prepare students to facilitate collaborations and alliances among key healthcare stakeholders.
  3. Develop leaders with the knowledge, skills and attitudes to successfully manage decision-making, change and organizational performance.
  4. Develop leaders with the ability to align personal and organizational conduct with ethical and professional standards in healthcare.
  5. Prepare students to evaluate the healthcare system from their managerial and providers role function.
  6. Prepare students to apply business principles in the healthcare environment.
  7. Prepare students to assess disease patterns and community needs for health services.

Research goal:  Promote scholarly and applied research in the area of health care administration in order to contribute to problem solving.

Research objectives:

  1. Disseminate scholarly and applied research findings in local and international forums.
  2. Maintain liaisons with public and private agencies, professional organizations, and universities that are conducting research in areas of mutual interest within the health care field.

Community Service goal : Provide professional consultation and technical assistance in the area of Health Services Administration to local agencies, programs, and professional associations, in order to improve the quality of the health services.


Community Service objectives

  1. Provide expert technical assistance to private and public health care delivery organizations.
  2. Maintain an active and dynamic role in the community through the placement of students in outpatient and inpatient health care delivery organizations as administrative residents.
  3. Foster networking opportunities and activities with health care executives and other professionals in the field.
  4. Maintain communication with the Puerto Rico Hospital Association and the Puerto Rico College of Health Services Administrators to coordinate the participation of students in professional educational activities.

Last revision: August 2015