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Healthcare and Biotechnology. Healthcare Cybersecurity

2024 Conference Focus

Healthcare and
Biotechnology Resilience

BSides Puerto Rico

This year will focus on the biomedical ecosystem of Puerto Rico. With many of the large manufacturers, manufacturing their FDA Class III devices on the island, it makes Puerto Rico a fertile training ground for cybersecurity awareness and resiliency in all areas of critical infrastructure. 


We are interested in talks and workshops that focus on the following areas:

  • Securing medical records 

  • Medical OT

  • Electrical and Power Grid Resiliency

  • DNA database security

  • Interoperability

  • Device Manufacturing 

  • Natural Disaster Recovery

  • Jones Act (Maritime and Medical)

  • Quantum

  • Artificial Intelligence

Carrying out this conference in Puerto Rico will create awareness of its role in the manufacturing of medical devices and pharmaceutical components and products. With a focus on the biomedical and biotechnology ecosystem. BSidesPR will also present the opportunity for stakeholders in Puerto Rico to become familiar with ongoing discussions, knowledge, and broader bioeconomy stakeholders, while giving a clear opportunity to inform the larger community regarding resilience, local know-how, and experience facing and overcoming challenges to critical infrastructure, especially those related to natural disasters. It will also present an opportunity to engage clinical and administrative healthcare workforce with essential knowledge to be able to meet standards and best practices, especially, in areas of opportunity, where awareness may play a key role in adoption and compliance with existing rules and regulations.


The intended audience for this event are:

Healthcare providers and their corresponding collectives

  • specific focus on physicians

  • physicians in training

  • cybersecurity sector professionals and students

  • interested stakeholders in academia

  • non-profit and community based organizations

  • manufacturing companies


Federal, state, and local governments and specific agencies involved in


  • healthcare

  • cybersecurity in health

  • disaster planning

  • mitigation

  • response

Blood Pressure

Puerto Rico is a United States (U.S.) commonwealth in the Caribbean that has recently experienced a cybersecurity crisis. The island has witnessed an increase in cyber attacks and natural disasters, which has left its residents and industries vulnerable to various forms of breaches. 

As the world surmises the requirements for an improved medical supply chain for software, hardware, and pharmaceutical products, Puerto Rico is a logical solution. According to statistics from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), 8% of everything Americans spend on pharmaceuticals is on drugs manufactured in Puerto Rico. The island already has the necessary infrastructure and a trained workforce, which provides Puerto Rico with a “privileged location” and access to global markets. Puerto Rico still manufactures more pharmaceuticals than any other jurisdiction in the US.


BSidesPR would encourage the island’s municipal, state, and federal governments to consider the possibilities Puerto Rico has to become a major contributor to the bioeconomy and/or leverage the opportunities for the reshoring of the pharmaceutical and medical devices manufacturing sectors. Activities such as BSidesPR could be an opportunity to feature Puerto Rico’s strengths and leverage current manufacturing capabilities and skilled-workforce for the development of resilience in biotechnology and tourism sectors, in efforts to spearhead the sustainable development of the U.S. Commonwealth into the immediate and long term future.


This year will focus on healthcare and biotechnology and the status Puerto Rico plays in the manner the U.S. and other countries receive, distribute, and economize biomedical cybersecurity, supply chains, bioeconomy, and workforce development.

Puerto Rico is a centralised area of critical infrastructure and presents various factors about how those risks can transform people, society, and an economy. ‘For more than six decades, Puerto Rico has established itself as a prominent bioscience hub, earning the reputation of being the “Medicine Cabinet of the USA.” With a rich history and expertise in the industry, the island offers a foundation for innovation and growth.


  • #1 bioscience manufacturing hub in the U.S.

  • 75% share of FDA Class III device manufacturers in Puerto Rico

  • 30 medical device companies operating on the island’

Puerto Rico’s Agricultural Biotechnology Assets

The University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez is a land-grant university with a well-developed agricultural sciences research community and several agricultural experimental stations across the island.

  • A 22,000 sq. ft. facility for agricultural biotech research and training (CEIBA)

  • Seed research and field trials at several company research stations

  • Major research and development projects in agricultural products including corn hybrids and other field crops

  • Favorable weather conditions allow four to five crops to be produced in a year period

  • Micropropagation and tissue culture facilities’.  (InvestPR, 2023)

Building Health and Social Service Systems Capacity

One of the critical challenges that was demonstrated through Hurricane Maria was the fragility of the health care system, including social, behavioral, and environmental health services. Damage to buildings and to electrical, water, and communications infrastructure closed medical and social service facilities and affected health and social service agencies' ability to operate.This component seeks to address ongoing resilience in the health care system to ensure flexibility and agility in response and long-term recovery. This includes the repair and rebuilding of hospitals and primary care centers. Health and social services require reliable electricity systems to function, so efforts to create a hardened electricity grid supported by alternative energy generators will be required to keep these services available in a future emergency. The portfolio also includes elements of routine function in the system, including stronger primary care options (e.g., community health centers/primary care clinics), better financing mechanisms (e.g., Medicaid/Medicare payment systems), and better data integration and digitization of health and related information.


Strengthening the Workforce and Its Capacity to Address Health Issues

Given the shortages in health specialties and concerns about personnel moving away, the government of Puerto Rico intends to incentivize, retain, and train the health care and public health workforce through such initiatives as loan repayment programs and policies that allow nurse practitioners (NPs) and physician assistants (PAs) from other states to provide care in Puerto Rico. In addition, the government of Puerto Rico will focus on improving workforce capabilities in public health surveillance and vital records data use, which will be important during disaster response and under normal circumstances.

(Chandra A, Marsh T, Madrigano J, et al. Health and Social Services in Puerto Rico Before and After Hurricane Maria: Predisaster Conditions, Hurricane Damage, and Themes for Recovery. Rand Health Q. 2021;9(2):10. Published 2021 Aug 16.)

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