Eleven medical students from Puerto Rico were welcomed to Loma Linda University School of Medicine this week following the closure of their former school.
The students – two seniors and nine juniors – were among the 275 students, some from California, of San Juan Bautista School of Medicine in Caguas, Puerto Rico, U.S., who were unable to continue their education after the school lost its accreditation early last month. The selected transfer students will resume their education at LLUSM and plan to graduate with the classes of 2012 and 2013, respectively.
“I feel it has been a blessing being here,” said Angie Lastra, 25, a senior, from Carolina, Puerto Rico. “We felt like it was the end of the world when our school closed, but now we are glad to be here. We are eternally grateful.”
On Oct. 3, the Liaison Committee on Medical Education, the accrediting body for medical schools in Canada and the U.S., including Puerto Rico, issued a statement declaring that it had “withdrawn accreditation from the educational program leading to the MD degree at the San Juan Bautista School of Medicine.” The decision, they stated, was based primarily on inadequate clinical resources.
The displaced students made a plea to the Association of American Medical Colleges, which then sent a call out to 134 other accredited medical schools to consider applications from students seeking transfer.
The LLUSM Advisory Council, led by Dr. Roger Hadley, dean of the LLU School of Medicine, determined that the school had capacity to accommodate a number of the students seeking transfer, and was among the first medical schools to offer help. After a team of LLUSM faculty members flew to Puerto Rico to conduct personal interviews with the students, a special admissions committee meeting was held to determine those students who might be the best match for LLUSM’s program.
“The story of the Good Samaritan tells us that when one sees a person in need, we should stop, help and find a place for them to stay,” Dr. Hadley said
~Courtesy of Loma Linda University Medical Center