CRESTVIEW — The Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine’s Physician Assistant Program is currently undergoing accreditation and is expected to accept its first class of 45 students in June 2015. Fifteen months later, those students will begin their final 12 months of study in Crestview.


CRESTVIEW —Dr. Pete Gutierrez popped into Crestview Tuesday afternoon to discuss Florida International University’s new program with community leaders.



The Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine’s Physician Assistant Program is currently undergoing accreditation and is expected to accept its first class of 45 students in June 2015. Fifteen months later, those students will begin their final 12 months of study in Crestview.



“It really will mimic medical school, but in a shorter time,” Gutierrez said. “We put into their heads in 27 months what we learned in medical school in four years.”



FIU has signed a contract with North Okaloosa Medical Center, where the PA students will experience practical training in rural healthcare.



As the program progresses, Gutierrez expects the program to increase to 60 students each academic year.



Gutierrez met with Crestview Mayor David Cadle, City Council President Shannon Hayes and former state senator Dr. Durell Peaden in City Hall to discuss the parameters of the program.



“This is the first venture for FIU outside of Miami,” Gutierrez said. “This is the place where our students will learn what ‘rural’ is.”