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AIKCU, UPIKE partner to provide opportunities for students pursuing optometry, medical careers


The University of Pikeville and the Association of Independent Kentucky Colleges and Universities (AIKCU) are partnering to provide professional school opportunities for students from Kentucky’s independent colleges and universities interested in optometry and medical careers.

The relationship was conceived to provide enhanced access to medical education opportunities for students from AIKCU’s 18 member colleges and universities while building Kentucky’s healthcare capacity.

(Photo from UPike)

“Through this partnership with UPIKE, students from all 18 of our member colleges and universities throughout Kentucky can take advantage of these pathways to high demand jobs in the healthcare industry,” said AIKCU President OJ Oleka, Ph.D. “If there’s one thing COVID has taught us, it’s the importance of having good, quality professionals in the healthcare industry all across Kentucky.”

The new agreement provides special admissions considerations for graduates of Kentucky independent colleges and universities applying to the University of Pikeville-Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine (UPIKE-KYCOM) or University of Pikeville-Kentucky College of Optometry (UPIKE-KYCO).

“The University of Pikeville is eager to partner with all of the independent colleges in the commonwealth of Kentucky to make available an opportunity for their students to have ready access to medical education,” said UPIKE President Burton Webb, Ph.D. “This gives the brightest minds in the commonwealth of Kentucky the opportunity to study and train right here in the mountains, at some of the finest medical training institutions in the state.”

Under the agreement, the Kentucky College of Optometry (KYCO) will reserve up to 10 spots in its entering class each year for qualified students applying from AIKCU member colleges and universities. KYCO typically matriculates around 65 new students each year.

The Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine (KYCOM) will guarantee an admissions interview for applicants from Kentucky’s independent colleges and universities who meet KYCOM admissions requirements. With nearly 4,000 applications to KYCOM each year competing for fewer than 150 seats in each first-year class, the guarantee of an interview is a significant advantage for students applying from Kentucky independent institutions.

In lieu of an in-person signing event, the partnership was announced with a video release that included remarks from AIKCU President OJ Oleka, Ph.D., UPIKE President Burton Webb, Ph.D., Zachary Combs, a KYCOM student who is an alumnus of Union College, and Jessica Johnson, an alumna of Campbellsville University and current KCYO student. The full video is available on the University of Pikeville’s website and social media channels.

From Association of Independent Kentucky Colleges and Universities


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