Home » UPIKE and 18 AIKCU members partner to reserve optometry, med school admission slots for state students

UPIKE and 18 AIKCU members partner to reserve optometry, med school admission slots for state students

PIKEVILLE, Ky. – 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. 

“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. 

UPIKE-KYCO opened as the nation’s 16th college of optometry in in 2016. Kentucky is one of only six states that allows optometrists to perform expanded therapeutic procedures. KYCO students learn and practice in a 103,000-s.f., $72 million state-of-the-art facility that includes the latest technology for optometric education.

The UPIKE College of Osteopathic Medicine for more than two decades has provided an osteopathic medical education that emphasizes primary care, encourages research, promotes lifelong scholarly activity, and produces graduates committed to serving the healthcare needs of communities in rural Kentucky and other Appalachian regions. KYCOM was recently ranked in the top 10 medical schools for graduates going into primary care by US News and World Report and is among the most affordable osteopathic medical schools in the country.

The Association of Independent Kentucky Colleges and Universities (AIKCU) is the nonprofit member organization of Kentucky’s 18 nonprofit, independent, SACSCOC-accredited four-year colleges and universities: Alice Lloyd College, Asbury University, Bellarmine University, Berea College, Brescia University, Campbellsville University, Centre College, Georgetown College, Kentucky Christian University, Kentucky Wesleyan College, Lindsey Wilson College, Midway University, Spalding University, Thomas More University, Transylvania University, Union College, University of Pikeville, and University of the Cumberlands.