UPIKE, Big Sandy Community & Technical College to offer new educational pathway

Published: Mar. 8, 2019 at 6:19 AM EST
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Officials from the University of Pikeville (UPIKE) and Big Sandy Community and Technical College (BSCTC) agreed to offer students pursuing medical careers a new educational pathway.

Four signatures made it possible during Thursday's signing ceremony.

"When two higher education institutions, each unique in their own respects, collaborate, synergy is born," said BSCTC President/Ceo Sherry Zylka.

Students from Big Sandy can now finish another degree at UPIKE.

"They will come and finish two years in a biology major at University of Pikeville and have an opportunity for early admission into the Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine (KYCOM)," said Dana Shaffer, dean of KYCOM.

Students can complete two years of curriculum at BSCTC and then transfer to UPIKE to finish a bachelor's degree in biology and minor in chemistry. Seats will be reserved at KYCOM each academic year for two students who meet each requirement.

UPIKE President Burton Webb says the schools are addressing a larger issue, the shortage of health care workers in Appalachia.

"The more people we can bring into the medical school from the region the better off we are in terms of retaining those physicians long term in the region," Webb said.

Now they encourage students to attend and transfer within the region seamlessly.

"When they do, they care about the issues that are found right here in Eastern Kentucky," Webb said. "They are from here. They know us. They know who we are and they know how to take care of us."

The recent history of collaboration brought opportunity for students in art, science, and optometry. Now both schools are glad to support students in another way.

"Thank you very much for the opportunity," Zylka said.

Officials say those already enrolled can now begin to take advantage of this agreement and move forward with their degree program in osteopathic medicine.