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Kentucky College of Optometry announces second founding faculty appointment

July 02, 2015 12:00 AM
Pikeville, Ky.
Donnie Akers, O.D., has been appointed as the second founding faculty member at the University of Pikeville-Kentucky College of Optometry.

Akers has been chosen as a senior clinical instructor of optometry serving as an instructor of gross and ocular anatomy and providing vision care in the clinical setting. Akers will also be a liaison to the University of Pikeville-Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine for collaborative studies between osteopathic and optometry students, announced Andrew Buzzelli, O.D., M.S., vice president for optometric education and founding dean.

A native of Floyd County, Akers is a 1990 graduate of Betsy Layne High School. He received a presidential scholarship to attend the University of Pikeville where he studied biology and chemistry. He graduated with top honors and was the recipient of the Arlington Math and Science award. Upon graduation, he taught as an adjunct laboratory instructor of microbiology and physical science at UPIKE before being accepted at the Indiana University School of Optometry with a Kentucky Contract Seat Scholarship. There he worked and studied as a teaching assistant in gross anatomy and ocular anatomy and graduated among the top tier of his class.

Following graduation, Akers acquired management and co-ownership of a large group practice in Paintsville. For more than 15 years he served thousands of patients covering nine counties with primary eye care and ocular disease management. He has worked for the Veterans Administration for nearly 10 years providing eye care at the Prestonsburg community-based outpatient clinic. Akers has served his community through service on the Johnson County Health Board, Rotary Club, Main Street Board and the Chamber of Commerce. He participates in multiple charities aimed at providing free or low cost glasses to local families in need and has traveled to Nicaragua to provide free eye care.

The Kentucky College of Optometry is the fourth college under the University of Pikeville banner and reflects the institution’s mission of service and strategic initiatives. In the process of applying to the American Council for Optometric Education for pre-accreditation status, the University of Pikeville would be the 22nd school in the country to have a college of optometry. Construction has begun on a new educational facility to house the Kentucky College of Optometry. Sixty students will be admitted per class for a total of 240. The university expects to provide for the underserved in Central Appalachia and other rural areas of the country.

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