The Puerto Rico Physiological Society (PRPS), a Chapter of the American Physiological Society, was created on April 28, 2009, and the inaugural meeting took place in January 2011. The success of that meeting was a preamble to the significant achievements of this Society since 2009.
From 2009-2020, the PRPS has conducted eight annual meetings that brought to the island recognized scientists from the mainland to share their research accomplishments in biomedical sciences and physiology. Besides, the PRPS has sponsored several outreach activities for high school students, mostly from underserved economic areas. These outreach activities have reached over a thousand students from public high schools and some private schools on the island. The PRPS also conducted various successful workshops for high school science teachers. Indeed, last year’s workshop received thirty high school science teachers on our campus, who benefited from the discussions of physiological principles. Two excellence awards (Peter K. Lauf & Norma Adragna Award and the Pablo I. Altieri Award), foster the interest of our graduates in the physiological sciences. Each of these awards covers transportation costs ($1,000) to a national specialty meeting for selected students based on oral presentations at the Annual Meeting. The Chapter also recognizes the excellence of our graduate students in poster presentations with three cash awards. The PRPS has been instrumental in distinguishing members of our scientific community who have contributed to education, science, and research. Finally, the Society has been a bridge between college students and mentors at participating institutions such as Ponce Health Sciences University, the Central University of the Caribbean, Bayamon, and the University of Puerto Rico-School of Medicine, the Natural Science Departments of the University of Puerto Rico, at Rio Piedras and Carolina, PR.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic and the quarantine that it imposes on us, have significantly affected mass activities like the ones our Society conducts. For this reason, the Executive Committee of the PRPS agreed to cancel our regular outreach activities for this year, namely, high school visits and teachers’ workshops, and the annual meeting scheduled for February 2021. However, during this time, the Executive Committee has been active in conducting internal affairs of the Chapter with APS, completing financial reports, and planning future activities consistent with the current pandemic. We will keep our members well informed about our events through a newsletter in September.
As President of the PRPS, I look forward to promoting further education and research in the physiological sciences and related areas.
Nelson Escobales, PhD