Last updated: July 17. 2014 12:21PM - 330 Views

Thirty-eight high school students who are interested in medical careers recently attended the PEPP program at the University of Pikeville.
Thirty-eight high school students who are interested in medical careers recently attended the PEPP program at the University of Pikeville.
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PIKEVILLE –Kentucky high school students from 16 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. Nearly 800 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 exposure to different facets of medical school and the medical profession, in both the classroom and clinical settings, left a lasting impression on the students.

“The program has allowed me to see every aspect of the medical field,” said Brianna Blackburn, a senior at Pikeville High School. “I got to be in the operating room and watched as the surgeons discussed how to approach the surgery and then the actual surgery. I saw five different jobs in one room … surgeon, anesthesiologist, nurse, radiology technician and a sales representative. Even though I may not want to be a doctor, I still see myself working in the medical field.”

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 38 Kentucky high school students, who will be seniors and juniors in the fall, successfully completed our PEPP Program this year,” said Linda Dunatov, Ed.D., 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.”

Participants in the program include: Pike County: Brianna Blackburn, Caroline Hatfield, Zachary Little, Emma Looney, Lauren McCoy, Rachel McPeek, Alexis Newsome, Jacob Roberts, Faith Runyon, Triniti Runyon, Leah Tackett and Austin Wright; Boone County: Caroline Duchette; Breathitt County: Michael Maggard; Carter County: Evan Brooks; Clifton Kouns, Kaylee Limings and Kelsey Stumbo; Floyd County: Olivia Davis; Greenup County: Eric Collinsworth; Harlan County: Charles Farmers; Jefferson County: Kassidy Barnett, Kelsey Bolen, Karlie Bolen, Henry Dye, Deanna Jordan and Courtney Pruitt; Knott County: Ashley Bergman, Monica Hall and Daniel Thompson; Lawrence County: Chelsea Shepherd, Jacob West, Mollie Workman and McKenzie Gibson; Logan County: Rachel Fisher; Magoffin County: Quinton Hensley; Martin County: Laura Kirk; and Trimble County: Shayla Crumley.

Medicine in the Mountains … Keeping the Promise: The Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine has earned high marks in rural medicine, ranking fifth among all medical schools in the nation, both D.O. and M.D., in U.S. News & World Report’s 2014 edition of Best Graduate Schools. KYCOM has also earned high marks for affordability, ranking fourth among the 10 least expensive private medical schools. Since its inception in 1997, more than 800 physicians have graduated from KYCOM. Sixty percent are serving primarily in rural health care facilities.

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