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ORESTES GUTIERREZ, DO ’03 Owner, Gutierrez Holistic Family Medicine, LLC; Clinical Assistant Professor of Family Medicine, Western University of Health Sciences; and Clinical Assistant Professor of Family Medicine and Regional Assistant Dean, Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences Eugene, Oregon [as told to David McKay Wilson]



Chris Pietsch

“I came to Florida from Cuba with my parents in 1980 during the Mariel boatlift. I was four years old. I remember being proud that I was the only one on our ship who didn’t get seasick. There were sharks circling our vessel. It was a perilous trip. Several drowned during the 90-mile journey. . . . I guess you can say I have spent my life overcoming odds. I survived the streets of North Miami, innercity schools, a broken home. But my brother and I knew my mother’s love, and we wanted for nothing. . . . I have always believed that in America, everything is possible. I stayed out of trouble, and I seized every opportunity I could. For several years, I served in the U.S. Navy, believing in the importance of giving back to the country that made it possible for a poor refugee to become a doctor. . . . After completing my family practice residency at the Mayo Clinic, I moved my family to Eugene, Oregon. There I started a solo practice—what they call a micro-practice or ideal medical practice. It’s part of a new wave in medicine. . . . It’s just me and my wife, Pam, who greets the patients when they arrive, collects the co-pays and does the billing. Our office is in a healing center with other practitioners. I don’t have a nurse, so that helps keep our overhead low. With a bigger group practice, you might have to see 30 patients a day to pay your bills. I see eight to ten patients, four days a week. During appointments, I spend 30 minutes or more with each patient. I drink coffee or tea with them, in a relaxed office setting, overseeing Eugene’s South Hills. I love forming lifelong relationships with my patients. . . . My practice has allowed me to craft the life of my dreams. I have full control of my schedule, which lets me do what I’m passionate about, including yoga and teaching. My wife and I decide our future.”

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