Medical school eyes Crestview for physician assistant program

medical school crestview gutierrez

Dr. Pedro Gutierrez, founding chair of the Florida International University School of Medicine's Physician Assistant Program, hopes to open a branch campus in Crestview.

Special to the News Bulletin
Published: Wednesday, August 14, 2013 at 04:17 PM.

CRESTVIEW — Florida's second-largest university is considering opening a medical campus in Okaloosa County's largest city, local officials said.

At the beginning of July, Dr. Pedro Gutierrez of the Florida International University Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine's new Physician Assistant Program toured Crestview and met with city leaders.

If the project comes to fruition, the school would teach students rotated from FIU's Miami campus and local students seeking a physician assistant degree.

City leaders are excited about the possibility of a second medical school opening in Crestview. The FIU program would join Florida A&M University, which operates a pharmacy school downtown.

Former state senator Dr. Durell Peaden encouraged the school to consider locating in Crestview, Mayor David Cadle said.

"They wanted to get into the Panhandle," Cadle said. "The student body is predominantly Hispanics from the Miami area. They don't get any experience in rural areas. This would be a big deal for our city and the whole region."

Gutierrez, the PA program’s associate dean and founding chair, is aware of the Crestview area’s benefits, having attended Northwest Florida State College and been stationed at Eglin Air Force Base and later, on the medical staff at Hurlburt Field.



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