Q&A with Pete Martinez, Chairman of Palm Beach Medical Education Corporation
by Boardroom Brief on January 31, 2011
1. You are Chairman of Palm Beach Medical Education Corporation, the parent company developing the nation’s only investor-based medical school for training medical doctors. The proposed school, Palm Beach Medical College, has just received Licensure from the State to operate as a stand-alone for-profit medical college granting four year MD degrees. Firstly, why do you believe this is the right time to introduce a new medical college to South Florida? And secondly, what do you anticipate the timeline to be for opening the new facility?
The US is expecting a shortage of 130,000 doctors by the year 2025. The current base of doctors in the US is approximately 850,000. Organic growth by existing medical colleges will not meet the extraordinary demand. The Private Sector sees this as an opportunity to innovate with business models, processes and technologies of the 21st Century and help in the transformation of healthcare at its grass roots of education.
The just granted Licensure by the State’s Department of Education is a major milestone in the development of the PBMC program. It comprised the detailed evaluation of curriculum, faculty, governance, facilities and funding. From here we move to the Accreditation by the Liaison Committee for Medical Education (LCME), the highest standard for medical education in the US. We have already been granted applicant status. There is lots of work ahead but the doors should open for students within 3 years.
2. The issue of for-profit vs. not-for-profit education can invite strong debate in spite of the fact licensing and accreditation standards are not lessened or diminished as result of tax status. Can you discuss how your business model structure and attraction from the private sector will support your instructional program and help you achieve your goal of providing the very best medical education available in South Florida?
The LCME Accreditation ensures the highest quality standards of medical education in the US. This is the same accreditation the rest of the Florida Medical (MD) Schools have attained. The private sector investors expect no less but the highest quality student applicants and graduates. The investors also expect continuous innovation in the way we develop medical students. There is high interest in the leverage of the 21st technologies and our students being masters of knowledge systems, communications and collaboration platforms.
3. You have a strong technology foundation which includes being current Co-Chairman of Cloud Industries Health, a visionary technology and services enterprise, former Vice President of IBM Global Business Services, Senior Executive South Florida and Vice President of Global Services, Latin America. As a 35 year veteran in the Information Technology industry, what specific ideas do you have in developing a state-of-the-art facility for your students, including your plans to invest heavily in technology and educational equipment to create a curriculum designed to stimulate active learning?
We have developed a learning platform that integrates all of the educational, clinical and research activities into a 21st Century Collaboratory. It learns with every transaction and best practices are integrated at the pace of discovery. The students will master this platform and start interacting with patients from day one. The excitement of learning through the new media and technologies will accelerate the pace and quality of knowledge. Furthermore, the most advanced medical devices will be integrated so that upon graduation, our students are at the cutting edge of technology
4. You have established agreements with technology, content providers, and other universities in order to develop a unique curriculum and educational experience, have galvanized a team of senior educators with national reputations for successful development and management of medical schools and will be recruiting a superior faculty from leading medical institutions locally and around the country. In addition to developing essential knowledge and skills, can you discuss the core values and other educational goals unique to your program at Palm Beach Medical College?
At the core of our values is excellence and we achieve excellence through the quality of students, faculty, staff, curriculum and technologies provided. Our patient-based learning stresses the scientific, societal, and business responsibilities of top professionals and this approach will foster leaders.
5. Can you discuss in general what locations in Palm Beach County are under consideration for the new facility and how many students will comprise the founding class? Furthermore, will the inaugural class be extended any substantive financial benefits that may not be offered to subsequent classes in terms of tuition discounts or merit scholarships?
We will locate in facilities that can be flexible for repurposing and will sustain the great innovation model we have developed. We will engage with communities that can sustain the anticipated jobs, talent and facilities growth. A Medical College is an economic development engine. The initial class will admit approximately 100 students. These students will qualify for the same financial aid as all other LCME accredited medical schools. As the program is designed to be exceptionally challenging, we will implement a rigorous entrance qualification criterion.
6. There’s no question you have a personal and passionate interest in preparing students and providing them the tools needed to be successful in life. You are a Faculty and Research Affiliate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT); visiting professor at Florida International University; Chairman of the Florida Research Consortium Board of Directors; Chair of the University of Miami School of Engineering Advisory Board; Chair of the Florida International University School of Computer Science Advisory Board; member of Florida Atlantic University’s Engineering Advisory Board and a member of the Florida International University MBA Advisory Board. In addition to your strong focus on education and healthcare, how will your extensive business leadership and entrepreneurial experience influence the program designed to produce those doctors which will meet the current and future health needs of our state?
There are three personal attributes that I will leverage in this venture; the first is a strong business focus of providing the highest quality product, reinvestment of profits and return to our investors. The second is the transformation of healthcare into an Information Science and proper usage of technology will be a key catalyst. The third is a passion for innovation. If I can share some of this fire-in-the-gut with our students and create an environment of relentless determination to improve and take medical education to the next level, we’ll reach for the next star.
About Pete Martinez
Mr. Martinez is Chairman of the Board of Palm Beach Medical Education Corporation, a state-of-the-art, for-profit innovation in healthcare, technology and education. He is also Co-Chairman of Cloud Industries Health, a visionary technology and services enterprise. A former IBM Vice President of Global Business Services, he was also Senior Executive for IBM South Florida and Vice President of IBM Global Services, Latin America.
With a strong technology foundation, Martinez has been able to define creative solutions to business problems. He has over 30 patents and technical publications in the areas of: healthcare, computer architecture, robotics, optical disks and display technology. Martinez is a frequent keynote speaker at international conferences and has been featured by the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, ABC News, The Economist, Univision and CNN.
Mr. Martinez is a Faculty and Research Affiliate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and is a visiting professor at Florida International University. Additionally, he is Chairman of the Florida Research Consortium Board of Directors, Chair of the University of Miami School of Engineering Advisory Board, Chair of the Florida International University School of Computer Science Advisory Board, member of Florida Atlantic University’s Engineering Advisory Board and is a member of the Florida International University MBA Advisory Board. Mr. Martinez is a Trustee of the Palm Healthcare Foundation.
Mr. Martinez holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Miami where he was named the Distinguished Alumnae (1998) and a Member of the Tau Beta Pi and Iron Arrow Honor Societies. In 2002 he was awarded the “Engineer of the Year” by the Association of Cuban Engineers, and in 2004 was inducted into the Miami‐Dade College Hall of Fame. Florida International University bestowed the 2007 Cal Kovens Service Medallion Award on Mr. Martinez. June 22, 2007 was proclaimed “Pete Martinez Day” by the Mayor of the City of Boca Raton, Florida.