University of Puerto Rico
Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
Telephone: (787) 758-2525 Ext. 1336 & 1526
Fax: (787) 766-2771 / (787) 754-0710
Dr. Ángel A. Román-Franco obtained his MD degree in 1967 from the University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine. He worked under the mentorship of Dr. Josel Szepsenwol. At the time, he was already an officer in the United States Air Force, under the auspices of which he trained as an intern at Malcolm Grow Medical Center, Andrews Air Force Base in Washington, DC. Subsequently, he trained as a USAF Flight Surgeon at the School of Aerospace Medicine, San Antonio, Texas. Immediately thereafter, he was posted as Medical Facility Commander at Çiğli AFB, Izmir, Turkey. He was also Director of Public Health of the East Aegean region and Chief of Aerospace Medicine. In 1970, he was reassigned as Commander at the Zaragoza Air Base Hospital, Spain. Thereafter, he completed his education in anatomic pathology at the UPR School of Medicine under the mentorship of Dr. Raúl A. Marcial-Rojas. A fellowship in immunopathology followed, at the Witebsky Center for Immunology, State University of New York at Buffalo under the mentorship of Dr. Giuseppe Andres.
In 1975, he returned to the UPR School of Medicine, where he has been a faculty member ever since and during which time he has occupied a number of academic research and administrative positions. He was Chairman of the Department of Pathology on three occasions. He was designated Director of the Immunobiology Laboratory of the Puerto Rico Cancer Center and subsequently assigned the position of Cancer Center Director. After a ten year period in the latter position, he was appointed Associate Dean for Biomedical Sciences and also Director of the Graduate Division of the School of Medicine. After two years as Associate Dean, in 1988 he was appointed Dean for Academic Affairs (Vice-Chancellor) of the Medical Sciences Campus and subsequently in 1990, he became Chancellor of the said Campus. This position was briefly held and relinquished in 1990 as he was mobilized to serve in the United States Army during Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm (Saudi Arabia). Following his academic stay at the Witebsky Center, Dr. Román-Franco continued his military career as a reservist and in active duty in the United States Army, being assigned the command of the 201st Evacuation Hospital, the 369th Combat Support Hospital and concomitantly the 407th Ambulance Co. The 369th CSH, under his command, was the first reserve unit to be accorded the distinction of participating in a Joint Readiness Training Exercise at Ft. Polk, Louisiana. His last US Army position was as Command Surgeon of the 65th Reserve Services Command after which he retired having completed 37 years of service. He received several awards and recognitions for his accomplishments. Following his return from Arabia, he returned to his regular position as faculty member of the Department of Pathology of the UPR. By this time he had been promoted to the rank of Professor, and in 1995 he was appointed Dean of the School of Medicine, a position held until the year 2000. He was instrumental in that position in effecting a major curriculum reform that catapulted student performance in national licensure examinations and in “Matching Program” results to the top one third of the US Medical Schools. He also was instrumental in causing a quantum leap in the use of informatics in medical education as well as establishing a standardized patients teaching resource. His tenure as Dean was lauded by the AAMC accrediting agency as one that positioned the institution as a “student-centered medical school.”
Dr. Román-Franco, with the mentorship and collaboration of Dr. Sidney Kaye, was the organizer and director of the Industrial Toxicology Laboratory of the UPR School of Medicine (1980-2005) where research in industrial carcinogenesis was conducted and clinical services were offered. For ten years, he was a member of the Cancer Center and the Cancer Control Review Committees and of several special review committees of the National Cancer Institute (NIH). For over thirty years, he was a consultant to the Puerto Rico Department of Health, the Puerto Rico Workers Compensation Fund, and served as a consultant to the Puerto Rico Senate in the area of cancer control.
He was principal investigator in NIH grants encompassing research in the study of the mechanism of action of asbestos and asbestiform minerals, free radical chemistry, cancer control and cancer epidemiology. In the year 2005, Dr. Roman-Franco retired from administrative duties, devoting his time to teaching and mentoring graduate and postdoctoral students of several faculties. In addition to teaching his regular pathology courses, he has established courses in medical humanities and evolutionary medicine, including one in the history and philosophy of science, a second termed “Shakespeare in Medicine”, a course in Darwinian Medicine, another in Renaissance Medicine and recently, one in the History of Tropical Medicine in the Caribbean. He is a member of the Iberoamerican Academy of Arts and Sciences, a founding member of the Puerto Rico Academy of Medical Humanities and has numerous articles, abstracts and guest lectures to his credit. In 2012 Dr. Román-Franco was advanced to the highest rank achievable by a regular faculty member: Distinguished Professor of the University of Puerto Rico.