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University of Pikeville receives $7.5 million in federal grants for new College of Optometry

The University of Pikeville (UPIKE) has received nearly $7.5 million in federal grants for its Kentucky College of Optometry (KYCO), U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Wednesday.

The competitive grants are being funded by the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) in the amount of $2.5 million and the Commerce Department’s U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) in the amount of $4.9 million. McConnell, on behalf of UPIKE, contacted the ARC in support of the grants.

Artist’s rendering of Kentucky College of Optometry, Pikeville (Photo Provided)

Artist’s rendering of Kentucky College of Optometry, Pikeville (Photo Provided)

“The University of Pikeville is deeply grateful for the significant leadership and support provided by Senator McConnell and Congressman Hal Rogers,” said Burton J. Webb, Ph.D., President of the University of Pikeville. “New programs and initiatives, like the Kentucky College of Optometry, will benefit greatly from the Power Initiative Grant.”

In addition to creating jobs and providing a boost in the region’s economy, KYCO will also conduct research in an effort to protect, preserve, and restore vision to people in Appalachia who, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hold some of the nation’s highest incidences of severe vision loss.

“The University of Pikeville continues to do outstanding work in providing support and training for its students and I was pleased to work with them to help secure these competitive grants,” said McConnell. “In addition to creating jobs and diversifying the economy in eastern Kentucky, UPIKE officials have informed me that the Kentucky College of Optometry would establish a unique approach to clinical care that includes a major on-site clinic and partnerships with local federally-qualified health care centers and hospitals in the region experiencing healthcare shortages.

“Also, by developing a strong graduate program, UPIKE hopes to encourage its graduates to continue practicing in eastern Kentucky and other high-need regions.”

Read more about the Kentucky College of Optometry on KyForward

From Senate Majority Leader’s Office Communications

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