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UPIKE-KYCO faculty named Kentucky Optometrist of the Year

July 24, 2017 12:00 AM
Pikeville, Ky.
Cliff Caudill, O.D., was chosen as the 2017 Kentucky Optometrist of the Year in recognition of his dedication and service to the profession of optometry and the advancement of vision care in Kentucky. The award is presented at the annual spring congress meeting of the Kentucky Optometric Association (KOA). Caudill is an associate professor and assistant dean of clinical affairs at the University of Pikeville-Kentucky College of Optometry (KYCO).

“Dr. Caudill has taken on the extremely difficult task of designing and contracting the entire clinical program which will produce optometry graduates who represent the Commonwealth of Kentucky,” said Andrew Buzzelli, O.D., M.S., vice president for optometric education at the University of Pikeville and founding dean of KYCO. “He has produced the first hospital training program of any optometry college in the United States. He has seen that three Federally Qualified Health Centers that previously had no eye care now have optometric eye care. He continually demonstrates the characteristics of the best of the best.”

Upon receiving the honored distinction, Caudill stated, “An award of this nature brings great personal feelings of accomplishment and validation of a job well done and I am very grateful. The larger picture, however, is how important this is to our institution. Recognition by the KOA for a member of our institution speaks volumes about the relationships we are cultivating with our colleagues in Kentucky. Please allow me to humbly accept this honor with the caveat that all who have worked so hard and supported us along the way deserve equal recognition and my sincere thanks.”

A Lexington native, Caudill received a bachelor of science degree from the University of Kentucky and later his doctorate of optometry from the University of Alabama Birmingham School of Optometry. He went on to complete a residency in primary care optometry at the Northeastern State University College of Optometry. Caudill most recently served 12 years as an assistant professor in the University of Kentucky Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences providing primary eye care and supervision of the department’s optometric education program. In this role, he implemented and directed the accredited optometry residency program and served as a clinical preceptor for students completing external rotations in the area of ocular disease. 

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. The American Council for Optometric Education has granted the Kentucky College of Optometry the pre-accreditation classification of “Preliminary Approval.” The University of Pikeville is the 22nd school in the country to have a college of optometry. Construction was recently completed 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.  

Caption: Cliff Caudill, O.D., was chosen as the 2017 Kentucky Optometrist of the Year during the annual spring congress meeting of the Kentucky Optometric Association (KOA). Pictured with Caudill is his wife, Leslie.

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