Personal Counselor

Working Hours: 9:00 to 6:00 Monday to Friday
(After hour services available upon request)

Personal Counselor
Prof. Ilsa Centeno
(787) 743-3038 Ext. 275

Counseling and Advisory Services

The Counseling Program is subscribed to the Deanship of Student Affairs and aims to promote the integral development of the student through personal, academic and professional counseling. Through the counseling program you have the opportunity to identify your strengths and weaknesses, evaluate and analyze your personal situation, and identify adequate coping skills. It’s a special place where you have the opportunity to expose and clarify your ideas, break down possible alternatives and evaluate the consequences, so that you may be prepared to make the best decisions in accordance to your needs and circumstances.

Personal Counseling

Individual counseling promotes the search for alternatives to deal with situations that affect your personal, academic and professional development. The process requires that the student, together with the counselor, determine and /or identify the conflict, assess the situation, list possible alternatives and develop a plan of action. This counseling process includes personal, family, environmental and economic situations, among others. This assessment begins upon your admission to SIBSM. You will be required to complete some assessments during orientation week, and participate of a mandatory interview as a first year student.

Personal counseling services may be requested by students for a variety of problems or circumstances such as depression, anxiety, conflict with family members or peers, mistreatment, academic difficulties, financial stressors, and adjusting to a different culture among others. In occasions, students may be referred to the Counselor by the Academic Advisor, faculty members, peers. These referrals are mandatory.

Group counseling

Group counseling is an important tool for generating changes in human behavior and conflict resolution. The alternative of group counseling where students interact, allows them to learn from others new avenues for facing difficult situations. This facilitates student’s personal growth by allowing them to acquire life skills, and interpersonal skill that help them explore controversial topics.


Our Counseling services are provided in a safe and confidential environment, with essential reliability in the counseling process as set forth in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. To ensure compliance, San Juan Bautista School of Medicine has established and published Executive Order 2012-06 titled: Institutional Policy regarding confidential counseling to students, a policy that defines and oversees confidential procedures in counseling. In addition, the Personal Counselor is licensed by the Health Department of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and as such, is governed by the ethical and moral standards of health care providers.

The Counselors office is located in a private area in the Presidential Building and operates during normal business hours. A second office located at the Menonita Caguas Hospital is also available, as after hour appointments as requested. This ensures that as a student seeking counseling, you have the alternative to choose a specific date and time to meet with the school Counselor at your convenience outside of school hours and/or at a different location outside school campus.

All information pertaining guidance and communication between students and the school Counselor is considered confidential. Prior and during the counseling process, students are informed that the privileged information gathered during the interventional process will be kept in strict confidentiality. This information is secured by SJBSM in accordance to ethical and legal standards.

Additional services

The Personal Counselor provides a variety of services aimed at promoting the well-being of students and assisting them with any situation that may arise. Some of the services include:

Applicant Interviews

During the admission process, the Personal Counselor is available to assist the diverse admissions committees during the interview process and identifying that applicants meet the technical standards required.

Welcome Package

Upon admission, the Personal Counselor provides the admitted candidates with a series of resources that will allow the students to adapt to the Island / or Metropolitan Area. The Welcome package includes information on the services provides by the Deanship of Student Affairs including contact information, information of Puerto Rico and the city of Caguas, location of basic service providers such as supermarkets and pharmacies; important information regarding housing opportunities and what to look for in a housing contract; among other.

White Coat Ceremony

The White Coat Ceremony was first established by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation in 1993 as a rite of passage for students. Its purpose is to welcome MD and PA students to healthcare practice and emphasize the value of humanism as the core of healthcare.

Student Orientations

SJBSM has instituted orientation for incoming students to help ease the transition into graduate and/or post graduate studies. This period provides new students with the opportunity to meet fellow students, become familiar with campus services, curriculum and staff.

Academic Advising Support

SJBSM’s academic advising system provides students with a layered academic support system integrated that help them achieve their academic goals. As an active member of this system, the Personal Counselor assists in providing assessment and support ensuring that students are capable of meeting their academic goals.

Professional Examinations

The Personal Counselor provides guidance to students from the MPH, PA and BSN programs in preparation for their board examinations such as the United States Medical Licensing Exam (USMLE), the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE), and the Puerto Rico Board of Examiners of Health Professionals. She participates in the student assessment process in order to raise awareness about their strengths and weaknesses for the exams. In addition, she develops an individualized strategic plan to help students manage test anxiety when needed.

Career Advising

The Personal Counselor assists students in their career planning providing additional information related to CV writing; interview skills; state licensing requirements; and employment opportunities among other.

Graduate Fair

Each year the Personal Counselor with the collaboration of the Student Council organizes a Graduate Fair that provides students the opportunity to interact on a one on one basis with program directors, board review programs, and employment opportunities.


When deemed necessary or upon request, the Personal Counselor may refer a student to other professionals and / or aid agencies with the student’s consent. In addition, she may consult particular cases with other health professionals such as psychiatrists, psychologists, with the student’s authorization. When doing so, the Personal Counselor ensures that the health specialist has no participation in student assessment and/or promotion to avoid any conflict of interest. All procedures are aimed at seeking the student’s well-being and are handled with the corresponding confidentiality.


Seeking to promote and strengthen cognitive and socio-emotional skills in the student body, the Counseling Office organizes worships on diverse topics such as mistreatment, sexual aggression, diversity, sign language, thanatology, suicide prevention, and general wellness among others.

Student Interest Group Fair

We encourage students to engage in professional organizations and student association / interest groups to enhance community advocacy, learning experience and assist students in exploring different opportunities as healthcare providers. Our traditional Student Interest Group Fair promotes student participation in such activities while providing the opportunity to become familiarized with active interest groups and professional organizations.

SJBSM Golden Humanism and Honor Society

In April 2016, San Juan Bautista School of Medicine reaffirmed its commitment to promoting the highest humanistic principles and values in health care by carrying out the first induction ceremony of the local chapter of the San Juan Bautista School of Medicine of the "Gold Humanism and Honor Society".

Extracurricular Activities

As part of our wellness program, the Personal Counselor promotes student participation in cultural activities which enrich the curriculum and form part of the student’s comprehensive education. In coordination with local agencies, diverse activities are coordinated such has visits to local museums, workshops on basic concepts that enable them to be prepared in the event of a storm or hurricane; and how to act in the face of an earthquake, etc.