Pete Martinez

Chairman of the board, Palm Beach Medical Education Corporation

Background: The Martinez story is pretty much unscripted. After all, who would have thought an IBM guy, who spent 32 years growing the changing computer industry, would end up tackling health care? But there are two things that always bugged Martinez. Health care and education. So he retired five years ago to gather steam for the nation’s first investor-backed medical school. “I wanted to do this when I could still throw a very hard punch,” says Martinez, who just turned 59.

How he is making a difference: Some things just don’t make sense, and Martinez has spent the last few years studying the health care industry and how it works, uncovering all those nonsensical realities. Like patient records? Why aren’t they centrally computerized? “It’s amazing that you can take your car to the Toyota dealership and they can call up the information on that car and help you,” he says. “Yet, for a human being, we can’t do that. We have to call. We have to pry. We have to get the X-rays. It’s completely obsolete.” Another thing? The paper trail. “The health industry is keeping the fax machine industry alive,” he says. And then there are the alarming projection numbers: By 2025, there will be a shortage of 130,000 doctors in America, if we do nothing. Enter Palm Beach Medical College, coming soon to our community on the heels of the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine at FAU. The difference? This would be the first stand-alone, for-profit medical school that will issue four-year degrees. 

What the future holds: Palm Beach Medical College—Martinez says they plan to sign a deal for space in Boca Raton—will be top of the line, technology-wise, and the inaugural gang will arrive in the fall of 2013. “The first class that the students take will be the technologies of medicine—electronic medical records, clinical decision support systems, high-definition imaging, telemedicine, simulators, animation, social networks for doctors.”