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By: Stacey Walters |
September 9, 2019
Vision Service Plan Global
(VSP) awarded an incoming optometry student with a $5,000 Vision of Hope
Scholarship to assist with her optometric education at the University of
Pikeville – Kentucky College of Optometry (KYCO).
KYCO’s Faculty Scholarship
and Awards Committee hand-selected Swathi Gutti, as she met the criteria to be
eligible for the scholarship which includes being a student from the
Appalachian region and committed to practicing in an underserved patient
population during her optometric career.
Gutti is inspired by her
parents who have served as healthcare providers in Pikeville, Ky., for more
than 20 years, and she recognizes the need for first-rate care in Appalachia
and why she chose to attend KYCO.
“I am all too familiar with
the lack of access to sufficient eye care that affects this region. While my
personal journey as a consumer of eye care has been a success story, my life
experiences have exposed me to the important issues that need to be addressed
within this community,” says Gutti. “I am very honored to be part of a program
like KYCO, which serves the people of this area in so many ways.”
Michael Bacigalupi, O.D.,
M.S., FAAO, FNAP, dean of KYCO, says VSP and KYCO are committed to improving
patient access to care from compassionate and well-trained optometrists while
carrying out a mission of service.
Gutti plans on pursuing her
goals in the rapidly evolving field of optometry and is excited to learn new optometric technologies while addressing
“I hope to begin my
professional career as an optometrist and serve my home community of Eastern
Kentucky, where the prevalence of vision loss is remarkably high and
socioeconomic barriers pose significant challenges,” says Gutti. “My ultimate
goal is to make eye care more accessible to all demographics.”