Five administrators at Florida International University’s medical school will depart this summer to launch another medical school in the Las Vegas area — marking a huge shift for FIU’s relatively new program during a global pandemic.
Dr. Pedro “Joe” Greer, a long-serving community figurehead and Associate Dean of FIU’s Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine, will become the founding dean of a medical school at Roseman University of Health Sciences in Henderson, Nevada.
He’s bringing with him Karin Esposito, Executive Associate Dean; Marin Gillis, Chief of the Division of Ethics, Humanities, and the Arts (DEHA); Luther Brewster, Chief of Policy and College of Medicine Community Development; and Cheryl Brewster, Associate Dean of Diversity.
They will serve as Greer’s executive deans. All but Cheryl Brewster will leave in May; she will leave in July.
“We’re leaving because the truth is this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said Greer, a Miami native.
He noted the diversity in his crew as all are underrepresented minorities. Three are women, and two of them are foreign-born. Two are African American.
“They are incredibly dedicated, mission-minded and brilliant educators,” he continued. “FIU has given us this opportunity to do these new things at a new school and now we can take it to a different level.”
Greer says he’s keeping his home in Miami.
Dr. Robert Sackstein, in his first year as dean of FIU’s Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine, announced their departures in an email to the medical school community Saturday evening.
“I am keenly aware of the impact of the departure of these valued colleagues, and I am — like many of you — at a loss at present to envision what HWCOM will feel like in their absence,” he wrote. “However, their departure(s) does not affect the HWCOM missions, and I wish to emphasize to every HWCOM student, faculty, and staff member that my foremost commitment as your Dean is to forge forward the success and growth of GFFNHELP (Green Family Foundation Neighborhood Help Education Learning Program), especially regarding the medical education and community service missions that we are all entrusted to achieve.”
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Sackstein also noted the timing of the departures, as South Florida has emerged as a COVID-19 hotspot, with 169 cases in Miami-Dade and 164 cases as of Saturday night.
“The outbreak of COVID-19 has greatly distorted our social interactions for the foreseeable future, but we are steadfast in meeting our personal and professional goals, and I am confident that we will succeed in overcoming any hurdle(s) that we may face,” Sackstein wrote.
Greer said FIU’s medical school is on the right path during the pandemic.
“We’re doing telemedicine. Everybody’s protected we’re doing all the things we need to do,” he said. “(We) protect our staff and protect our patients. The fact that these young college graduates really looked at this deeply (is) a testament to the teachings we do at FIU.”