South Charlotte

Wingate campus expanding

Wingate University is negotiating to buy 50 acres along Interstate 485 for a satellite campus to house its new physician assistant program, its pharmacy school and future health-care training programs.

Wingate welcomed 20 students earlier this month to its first-year physician assistant program.

The new college graduate-level program is step two in the university's effort to build a strong health care program that will have impact throughout the region.

Wingate started a pharmacy school in 2003. That school now has produced two classes of graduates with doctoral degrees.

“I'm pleased,” said Wingate University President Jerry McGee. “The school of pharmacy has gone very well. So we started looking at other health care curricula, and the PA program made sense, especially with such demand in the area. … We have to be close to the medical facilities in Mecklenburg, Gaston and the surrounding counties.”

Because of the high number of medical organizations in south Meckleburg county, you'll probably see many of them in that area. The physician assistant students had a “White Coat” ceremony Aug. 15 to kick off the program. For the first year of the two-year program, they will be in classes on Wingate's campus. Then they'll start working with medical organizations. You'll be able to identify the program's students by their white coats with Wingate physician assistant patches.

The program is headed by Dr. Gary Uremovich. He's a retired U.S. Air Force lieutenant colonel. He's also an Air Force-trained physician assistant with 30 years' experience. Uremovich worked at Kettering College in Ohio as academic coordinator for the physician assistant program.

He came to the Charlotte area in 2005 and has worked with Charlotte Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat.

“Medical providers in the Charlotte area have said they need physician assistants,” Uremovich said. “Carolinas Medical Center and Presbyterian, Novant Health Care, said they need physician assistants, and we're happy we're here.”

The school now has provisional accreditation. Once the first class has graduated, it will be a candidate for full accreditation by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for Physician Assistants. The goal is to get that status in 2010, Uremovich said.

“The medical community has been really supportive,” he said. “When ARCPA checked our program, we did very well.”

Uremovich makes it clear that physician assistants are not doctors.

“We are the health care advocates for the patients and the doctors,” he says. “We want to increase the impact of the physician on that person. We want to help people get the best care.”

There are four other physician assistant programs in North Carolina. They are at Methodist College in Fayetteville, Wake Forest University, Duke University and East Carolina University.

Wingate has one satellite campus in Matthews, where the school's doctorate in education leadership program is housed. McGee did not go into detail about the site for which the school is negotiating.

The campus currently sits on 425 acres in the town of Wingate in eastern Union County.

Wingate University is negotiating to buy 50 acres along Interstate 485 for a satellite campus to house its new physician assistant program, its pharmacy school and future health-care training programs.

Wingate welcomed 20 students earlier this month to its first-year physician assistant program.

The new college graduate-level program is step two in the university's effort to build a strong health care program that will have impact throughout the region.

Wingate started a pharmacy school in 2003. That school now has produced two classes of graduates with doctoral degrees.

“I'm pleased,” said Wingate University President Jerry McGee. “The school of pharmacy has gone very well. So we started looking at other health care curricula, and the PA program made sense, especially with such demand in the area. … We have to be close to the medical facilities in Mecklenburg, Gaston and the surrounding counties.”

Because of the high number of medical organizations in south Meckleburg county, you'll probably see many of them in that area. The physician assistant students had a “White Coat” ceremony Aug. 15 to kick off the program. For the first year of the two-year program, they will be in classes on Wingate's campus. Then they'll start working with medical organizations. You'll be able to identify the program's students by their white coats with Wingate physician assistant patches.

The program is headed by Dr. Gary Uremovich. He's a retired U.S. Air Force lieutenant colonel. He's also an Air Force-trained physician assistant with 30 years' experience. Uremovich worked at Kettering College in Ohio as academic coordinator for the physician assistant program.

He came to the Charlotte area in 2005 and has worked with Charlotte Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat.

“Medical providers in the Charlotte area have said they need physician assistants,” Uremovich said. “Carolinas Medical Center and Presbyterian, Novant Health Care, said they need physician assistants, and we're happy we're here.”

The school now has provisional accreditation. Once the first class has graduated, it will be a candidate for full accreditation by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for Physician Assistants. The goal is to get that status in 2010, Uremovich said.

“The medical community has been really supportive,” he said. “When ARCPA checked our program, we did very well.”

Uremovich makes it clear that physician assistants are not doctors.

“We are the health care advocates for the patients and the doctors,” he says. “We want to increase the impact of the physician on that person. We want to help people get the best care.”

There are four other physician assistant programs in North Carolina. They are at Methodist College in Fayetteville, Wake Forest University, Duke University and East Carolina University.

Wingate has one satellite campus in Matthews, where the school's doctorate in education leadership program is housed. McGee did not go into detail about the site for which the school is negotiating.

The campus currently sits on 425 acres in the town of Wingate in eastern Union County.

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