Kentucky high school students from 20 counties across the region recently completed the annual Professional Education Preparation Program (PEPP) at the University of Pikeville-Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine (KYCOM). This two-week residential program provides high school students with an opportunity to learn about the medical profession. More than 700 students have participated in the university’s program since its inception in 1999.
This year, students spent two weeks on campus learning anatomy, histology, physiology, biochemistry, pathology, and pharmacology of the 10 major human organ systems through presentations provided by KYCOM faculty and second-year medical students. PEPP students participated in gross anatomy and functional anatomy labs and engaged in clinical observations at Pikeville Medical Center.
The PEPP program is designed to provide a better understanding of rural medicine, what it takes to get into a medical education program, and the dedication needed to succeed in the medical profession. It also helps to build confidence and self-esteem and provides students with the encouragement to seek challenging course work as they prepare for higher education.
“I am delighted that 43 Kentucky high school senior and junior students successfully completed our PEPP Program this year,” said Linda Dunatov, associate dean for student affairs at KYCOM. “The KYCOM PEPP Program offers Kentucky high school students a unique opportunity to learn about osteopathic medicine as a possible career. This year’s group stood out as avid learners who show future promise of becoming excellent medical professionals.”
Medicine in the Mountains … Keeping the Promise: Since its inception in 1997, the University of Pikeville-Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine has played an important role in preparing physicians to serve the healthcare needs of underserved populations in Kentucky and other Appalachian Regions. Of the nearly 700 graduates since the first class of physicians in 2001, 60 percent are serving in the Appalachian regions of Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, South Carolina, Mississippi, Alabama, North Carolina and Georgia, as well as rural areas of eastern Ohio, western Pennsylvania and New York. Currently, 69 percent of these physicians are serving in primary care.
Participants in the program include: Bourbon County: Emily Sledd; Boyd County: Aaron Barrett and Rebecca Sorrell; Breathitt County: Chad Davidson; Campbell County: Nicole Robertson and Tricia Kramer; Carter County: Jennifer Adams, Shelbie Burton and Morgan Messer; Clay County: James Williams and Edmonson County: Rachel Lindsey; Andrea Carnes and Hunter Honeycutt; Floyd County: John Gullett; Green County: Molly Frank and Hannah March; Greenup County: Belle Lemaster and Sydney Shoemaker; Johnson County: Katherine Wells and Elizabeth Wilson; Lawrence County: Olivia Cremeans and Allyson Wheeler; Magoffin County: Austin Howard and James Lemaster; Perry County: Savana McIntosh; Pike County: Morgan Jarrell, Ty Hensley, Haleigh Bowling, Kayla Blackburn, Henna Chandel, Katie Hager, Paige Hall, Elizabeth Johnson, Manali Panchal, Austin Thacker, Mason Johnson and Cierra Riddle; Powell County: Kaitlin Fraley; Pulaski County: Brittany Pittman; Spencer County: Shelby Wakefield and Alysa-Grace Wente; Warren County: Natascha Richardson; and Whitley County: Kassandra Popejoy.