KYCO graduate now precepting students at Big Sandy Health Care

As the University of Pikeville-Kentucky College of Optometry (KYCO) welcomed its new class of incoming students in mid-August, third-year students are building on their education by practicing their skills in clinical settings. KYCO Class of 2022 valedictorian Brittany Varney, O.D., has taken on the role of optometrist at Big Sandy Health Care, where she is precepting students.

“Watching students learn their skills and put them to use in the clinic is special,” said Varney. “Training students to work in rural areas and knowing that I had a hand in helping their future patients by helping them learn is more rewarding than anything.”  

By returning to Big Sandy Health Care, where her passion for becoming an optometrist was first ignited while serving as the diabetes coalition coordinator through AmeriCorps, Varney has come full circle. Her career trajectory perfectly aligns with KYCO’s mission, which strives to equip its graduates with the skills and mindset needed to excel in rural and underserved communities as leaders in therapeutic optometry. 

Assistant Professor of Optometry Ryan Kern, O.D, FAAO, also serves as the residency coordinator for KYCO and has mentored Varney throughout her optometric education and beyond. 

“Dr. Varney is an outstanding clinician with a passion for her patients and optometric education,” said Kern. “Her knowledge and skills will serve Appalachia for many years, increasing the access to quality eye care.”