PIKEVILLE — The Osteopathic Medicine’s Osteopathic Medical Scholars Program, also known as 4+4, is an eight-year program offered by the University of Pikeville in conjunction with the Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine (KYCOM).

Each year, 10 graduating high school seniors are selected for the program based on the following qualifications: They are a resident of Kentucky, West Virginia or Virginia, in the top 10 percent of their class or earned a 3.5 grade point average on a 4.0 scale and scored a minimum of 1200 on the SAT or 26 on the ACT. Upon completion of their bachelor’s degree at UPIKE, scholars who have maintained the proper grade point average, achieved the required score the MCAT and exhibited proper ethical conduct will have guaranteed acceptance into KYCOM.

I consider myself extremely blessed to be among the first graduating class of Osteopathic Medical Scholars Program. Since my acceptance in 2010, I have been given some unique and wonderful opportunities concerning my medical future. My freshman year, we participated in D.O.s on the GO, a community-based free clinic, where we worked alongside doctors and KYCOM students as they provided residents with basic health screenings and osteopathic manipulative treatment.

We were also given a tour of the Coal Building, KYCOM’s new educational facility, including the new OMT clinic, where we were instructed how to perform some basic movements.

Recently, we attended a free study skills workshop alongside current KYCOM students that was designed to prepare us for our upcoming medical school course load and block exams. Annually, we volunteer as ushers for KYCOM’s White Coat Ceremony and attend KYCOM’s Open House where we inform other prospective osteopathic medical students about our program.

Scholars are also required to attend monthly sessions to discuss our undergraduate and future graduate courses, information about shadowing physicians and financial aid opportunities.



— Katherine Baker of Busy, Ky., is a senior biology major and a member of the University of Pikeville-Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medical Scholars Program. She also serves as a student chaplain on campus.



The Medical Leader commends the University of Pikeville for its continued growth and efforts to improve educational opportunities in eastern Kentucky.

UPIKE was founded 124 years ago — in 1889 — as Pikeville College, and it’s still growing strong.

Its College of Arts and Sciences goes back to its beginning, offering top-notch liberal arts and science education for thousands of students.

In 2011, Pikeville College earned accreditation as a university and started offering a Masters of Business Administration program and a master’s degree program in Sports Management.

Those are just two of many expansions the institution has undergone in the past few decades.

In 1997, then-Pikeville College accepted its first class of students in the Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine. Thanks to that program, more than 700 physicians are now meeting the health care needs of Kentuckians and residents of other states. The majority of the Pikeville-trained physicians are serving the health care needs of people in rural Appalachian communities.

Today, KYCOM ranks second in the percentage of graduates who enter primary care residencies and the college ranks fifth among all medical schools in the nation, according to the U.S. News & World Report’s 2014 Best Graduate Schools listing.

But UPIKE won’t stop there.

In January, the university opened the Coleman College of Business to provide yet another way to expand educational opportunities for students in the region. This program offers evening classes for working professionals and specialized training to educate the region’s next business leaders.

UPIKE’s latest announcement provides even more opportunity for the region.

On Feb. 26, Gov. Steve Beshear joined college officials to announce the upcoming construction of the Kentucky College of Optometry, which is set to accept its first class in 2016.

It will be one of 22 colleges of optometry in the U.S. and the first College of Optometry that serves the southeast region of the country —  Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Mississippi.

Beshear called the announcement a “monumental accomplishment.”

We agree.

It’s encouraging to see the growth and enthusiasm that’s happening at UPIKE. We’re thankful to see it, and the people who live and work in eastern Kentucky should be happy to see it happening as well.

Keep up the good work, UPIKE.

Congratulations on yet another successful venture!



A few years ago, I learned that it is “Daylight Saving Time,” not “Daylight Savings Time,” as I had erroneously called it for many years.

But when it comes down to it, what you call it really doesn’t matter, because, in the end, it all means the same thing — that whether you like it or not, you’ll be “springing forward” and “falling back” twice a year, every year.

I so don’t enjoy it. I’ve never enjoyed it. I just wish they’d leave my time alone.

They try to explain it away, saying that in the fall, you get an extra hour of sleep, and in the spring, you lose an hour of sleep, but it’s really much more than that.

It means that every winter, it gets dark at 5 p.m.

That wouldn’t be such a big deal, only it means that I get up in the morning, when it’s dark, to get ready for work, then I leave for work, work until 5 p.m. or so and — Guess what?! — it’s dark again by the time I’m ready to drive home again.

Not my cup of tea.

And in the “spring forward” that we’re getting ready to jump into on March 9, it may be daylight outside when I leave for work and drive home from work, but I’ll be waking up an hour less rested!

It usually takes me a week or more to get over the change. 

I protested one year. I refused, for an entire year, to set my clocks at home for Daylight Saving Time. It was not confusing, as one would think. It was actually an interesting experiment, and, in the spring and all summer long, some visitors actually stayed a little longer, thinking it was an hour earlier than it actually was at my house.

I loved it.

“What time is it again?” they’d ask.

I quit wearing watches that year.

It’s my understanding that we observe this time-up, time-back ritual because of a well-known feller by the name of Benjamin Franklin, an 18th Century work-a-holic who thought it would be nifty to make the best use of daylight by shifting time back and forth.

Daylight Saving Time became law with the signature of President Lyndon Johnson in 1966 and, since then, it has been changed twice by amendments to the federal law.

I don’t know why it annoys me so much, but it does, and I’m sure I’m not the only person annoyed by it.

The National Bureau of Economic Research points out in a study published online that the primary rationale for Daylight Saving Time has “always been to promote energy conservation.”

That study, analyzing micro-data on more than 500,000 residences and tenants in Indiana, shows that it increases, not decreases, electricity consumption, stating that “if anything, the policy seems to have the opposite of its intended effect.”

That’s not the only bothersome issue.

There is a plethora of studies online that show that Daylight Saving Time actually harms the human body’s circadian clock, which is kept in tune by light and darkness.

These studies correlate decreased productivity, decreased quality of life and increase susceptibility to illness to Daylight Saving Time.

National Geographic published an article in November 2013, reporting a 2012 study that shows the risk of heart attack surges by 10 percent on the Monday and Tuesday after everybody springs forward for Daylight Saving Time.

Whew! I knew I was tired for some reason!

Happy spring-forwarding!


— Mary Meadows can be reached at 606-218-4952 or by e-mail at: mary.meadows@pikevillehospital.org


FRANKFORT —As we welcome March at the capitol, we will see some of the legislature’s biggest issues – like the state’s biennial budget – brought to the forefront.  For us, March brings late nights and hard decisions as we work to reach a consensus on the most fiscally-responsible way to keep our state moving forward.

Senate members have been following the House’s work on the budget closely, meeting with state budget officials and preparing for when budget legislation is delivered to our chamber.

We also considered several bills this week that would tweak, update and improve policies, laws and services in the Commonwealth.  Legislation that would make government more efficient and more effective in common-sense, measured steps.

This is routine work that is not likely to be heard on the nightly news or headlined in the papers.  But it is essential to keep our state up and running, and a principal function of the legislature.

Measures like Senate Bill 65, passed unanimously this week, would bring the state in compliance with new federal regulations and allow the same exchange of information for mental health providers as is currently available to other health practitioners. 

Senate Bill 91, also passed unanimously, would allow the Public Service Commission to send e-mail notifications (instead of mailed paper copies) to parties involved in certain case proceedings.  The measure would still allow participants to request and receive paper notifications.  The bill’s sponsor says this measure will help expedite proceedings and save the PSC $20,000 to $30,000.

Senate Bill 142, passed 35-2, would make some minor changes to last year’s pension reform measure, Senate Bill 2.  Some of the pension spiking provisions of that legislation had some unintended consequences of capping overtime and secondary employment hours worked by police officers, fire fighters and other state employees.  Under this measure, an employee’s annual salary increase above 10% in the last five years of employment will not be used to calculate pension benefits.  Additional contributions by the employee as a result of this increase will be refunded with interest.  The additional employer’s contribution will be used to pay down the retirement systems unfunded liability.  SB 142 applies to legislative and judicial pensions.  SB 2 did not. 

Like SB 2, SB 142 would allow wage increases due to promotions and a return to work after authorized unpaid medical leave to be used in calculating retirement benefits.  Supporters of the measure say this change will allow the state to continue to receive federal funding of certain overtime wages, and will allow state employees to choose to work additional overtime hours.

These bills and others now go to the House of Representatives for further action.

Several bills also received committee hearings this week.  Some of these issues included banning the sale of e-cigarettes to minors; allowing honorably discharged service members to waive training requirements for a concealed deadly weapon license with certain documentation, and legalizing limited medical use of cannabis oils. 

The Senate Judiciary Committee passed Senate Bill 157 that would open juvenile proceedings.  I opposed this measure because it would allow sensitive juvenile court proceedings to be open to the public. 

These bills now go to the full Senate for further consideration. 

In a break from my legislative obligations, I joined Governor Beshear and UPike President James Hurley on Wednesday at the University of Pikeville to announce that the school will soon be the home to UPike Kentucky College of Optometry.

UPike will be home to the 22nd college of optometry in the country. There are currently no colleges of optometry in Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia or Mississippi. The first class of students should be in 2016.

This new program will help keep doctors in the area. We often hear people talk about the brain drain in eastern Kentucky -- our best and brightest leave. Well, the University of Pikeville is committed to stopping the brain drain in Central Appalachia.

This is not only important to Kentucky, but also surrounding states, including West Virginia. I have visited with West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin and U.S. senators from West Virginia to discuss the impact it will also have on the Mountain State. The key to the future in this region is education.

Students from across the United States will want to train here because Kentucky and Oklahoma are the only two states in the nation that allow laser as a scope of practice.

This new program at UPike is very good news for Central Appalachia and even the southeastern United States.

The new school is expected to bring in $8.5 million in tuition revenue and have a $6 million economic impact on the county.

On Thursday, I was honored to welcome students from across the state, especially from my district, to the State Capitol for the 13th annual Posters-at-the-Capitol.  Undergraduates from public universities of Kentucky and the Kentucky Community and Technical College System were in Frankfort to show off their research. 

This program exemplifies the high quality of the students in the commonwealth and I enjoyed meeting with our future leaders as they explained their research and findings.  To recognize the importance of this event, Governor Steve Beshear proclaimed the day as Undergraduate Research Day. 

The work of the legislative session will only intensify in the weeks ahead as we address our toughest issues.  I welcome your input especially during the final leg of the legislative session.  To leave a message for me, or any legislator, call the General Assembly’s toll-free Message Line at 1-800-372-7181.


It’s a great thing to see eastern Kentucky growing its own brand.

Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James R. Comer joined U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell and U.S. Sen. Rand Paul in Knott County on Feb. 17 to announce “Appalachia Proud,” a marketing program affiliated with the state’s Kentucky Proud program.

Through this program, the state will help eastern Kentucky farmers and producers in 37 eastern Kentucky counties market their food and products under the Appalachia Proud label.

Additionally, the Department of Agriculture encourages colleges and universities to participate in Farm to Campus initiatives by selling Kentucky products.

The department is also encouraging colleges and universities to develop niche agricultural products that can be successful in eastern Kentucky communities.

It’s exciting to see this type of program developing to benefit eastern Kentucky communities.

If the program works well and helps eastern Kentucky communities prosper, there’s no doubt that its benefit will spread to other portions of the state as well.

The Medical Leader commends local, state and federal officials who support this program.

We encourage all eastern Kentucky residents who are interested in agriculture to visit the Appalachia Proud link at http://kyproud.com to learn more about the program.

We encourage eastern Kentucky farmers to fill out the application and sell their products under the Appalachia Proud label.

We encourage eastern Kentucky residents and visitors to consider buying Appalachia Proud products when they are available in local stores.

The investment will be worth it.




One very warm Ash Wednesday in Houston, TX, I attended the noon ceremony. The church was filled with eager Christians ready to receive the sign of the cross in ash on their foreheads and begin the devotions of Lent.

One lovely young woman came forward carrying a baby. The priest marked the woman with an ashen cross, gave the baby a simple blessing, and they were ready to move on — but a beautiful thing happened.

The baby — quite new to the world — erupted in a beaming whole-body smile (as only babies seem to have), grabbed the priest’s wrist with both baby hands, and pulled his ash-stained fingers forward. Delightful laughter circled the quiet church as everyone enjoyed the scene and the priest, now beaming himself, traced a tiny cross of ashes on the smiling baby’s head.

That scene stays with me, and I doubt I will ever receive ashes without remembering that amazing baby face, joyfully demanding to be included in the cross.

The Lord gives us this reminder:

“Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.” And He took them up in His arms, laid His hands on them, and blessed them.

–Mark 10:14-16; see also Matthew 19:14, Luke 18:16-17.

PMC Chaplain Andrea Tackett may be reached at 606-218-3969 or via e-mail at andrea.tackett@pikevillehospital.org.

March is national Colon Cancer Awareness Month — no better time to get screened for colon cancer, the second leading cause of cancer death in Kentucky — though it doesn’t have to be.  Colon cancer is up to 90 percent curable when treated early.

Special events and “Dress in Blue” days are being planned throughout Kentucky to promote colon cancer awareness and that colon cancer screening saves lives.

All men and women over age 50, age 45 and over for African Americans, (and others at high risk) should be screened for colon cancer and there are several tests available now.  In addition to colonoscopy, there is now a new low cost, take home testing kit called FIT which is an option for many people, especially those who are not at high risk. FIT tests should be done every year to be effective.

A FIT test (which stands for Fecal Immunochemical Test) uses highly sensitive chemical analysis to identify blood in one’s stool. It can find cancer early, when treatment works best.  Early colon cancer often has no symptoms; this means someone could have polyps (abnormal growths in the colon that can turn into cancer) or even cancer — but not know it.

The American Cancer Society, the US Preventive Services Taskforce and others recommend these new high-sensitive tests as a good option for colorectal cancer screening for many people and clinical trials have shown them to decrease both colon cancer incidence and mortality.

The newer FIT Kits are easier to use — and more effective than the earlier take home kits known as FOBTs:

•No need to change one’s diet or eating habits beforehand

•No need to change medication schedule

•No liquids to drink or pills to take beforehand

•No time off work

•No travel — and is done in the privacy of your home.

Talk to your doctor or health care provider about getting screened for colon cancer and the best option for you.  Colon cancer is “Preventable, Treatable, Beatable.” 

For more information about colon cancer, contact the Colon Cancer Prevention Project at http://coloncancerpreventionproject.org or the Kentucky Cancer Program at http://kcp.uky.edu.


ELKHORN CITY — The Artist Collaborative Theatre is bringing history to the stage in Elkhorn City.

The theatre will continue performances of “The Diary of Anne Frank” on March 13-23 at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday and at 3 p.m. on Sundays.

The play is based on a true story about Anne Frank, whose family hid Jewish people from the Nazis during the Holocaust. The play captures the struggle of eight Jewish people who were hiding from the Nazis.

Frank’s wartime diary, “The Diary of a Young Girl,” documents experiences she had during the German occupation of the Netherlands in World War II. The play is rated PG-13.

Other plays that will be performed by ACT this year include: “The Jungle Book Jr.” from march 27 to April 6; “Bang, Bang, You’re Dead” from April 10 to April 20; “Little Shop of Horrors” from May 15 to June 8 and “Rex’s Exes” from June 19 to July 13.

For more information, visit http://act4.org or call 606-754-4228.



PIKEVILLE — Pike County officials are helping local residents get a jump start on spring cleaning, encouraging them to take part in the annual tire collection event, which will be observed March 20-21.

The Kentucky Division of Waste Management waives the cost to dispose of tires, allowing the county to save up to $100,000 during the tire collection event.

“This is a great opportunity given to the people of Pike County,” Pike County Judge-Executive Wayne T. Rutherford said. “Everyone who took tires home instead of paying the $3 disposal fee; this is time to get rid of them.”

In past years of the program Pike County Solid Waste has collected more than 70,000 tires.

“The fiscal court was very helpful the last time we did this program in getting the word out to the people of Pike County,” Solid Waste Commissioner Bobby Mullins said. “We want to urge the public to take advantage of this event and get rid of old tires.”

Tires not accepted are: foam filled tires, calcium filled tires, off road construction and solid tires with/without press on rims.

Tires that will be accepted on or off the rim are: truck, light truck, passenger, implement, lawn tractor, ATV tires and bicycle.

The program is beneficial to both the county and its residents, according to Mullins.

The main staging location at 170 Ford Mountain, across from Johns Creek School, will accept old tires from March 20-22 from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Drop-offs can be made March 17-20 between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. at the Pike County Solid Waste locations at Robinson Creek, Belcher and Phelps road lot.

The Belfry area residents can use the Johns Creek location.

  “When anyone buys a tire, they pay $1 toward amnesty,” Mullins said. “This is when the state gives the money back to residents.”

Call Mullins at at 606-432-6245 for more information.


SOMERSET — Several local students were appointed as members of Forward in the Fifth’s first-ever “Our Voices, Our Vision Student Congress.”

The 20-member student leadership group, representing 45 Appalachian counties in Kentucky, will introduce, discuss and synthesize ideas about the advancement of educational progress and growth.

“The Student Congress provides a unique opportunity for students to share successes and challenges at the college level,” said Congressman Hal Rogers. “Their insights have the potential to impact future development of local and regional programs and policies. Forward in the Fifth plans to highlight successful practices at our institutions of higher education, while offering innovative ideas for current and future generations.”

Johnson County resident Ben Hamilton II, a student at Big Sandy Community & Technical College, is happy to work with the Student Congress.

“I am excited about the exchange of ideas with my peers from other institutions on the many issues facing college students today,” he said. “Identifying such areas is crucial for the improvement of my own education and for future generations of students.”

Other local Student Congress members include Demitri BienAime of Floyd County and Georgetta Preece of Martin County, who both attend Big Sandy Community & Technical College, Alicia Baker of Perry County, who attends Hazard Community & Technical College, Kristy Hyden of Floyd County, who attends Somerset Community College, and Nathan Little of Pike County, who attends the University of Pikeville.

Student Congress members are undergoing training in January.

Call 606-677-6000 for details.

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