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Forty-five Kentucky high school students from 21 counties across the region were recently on the campus of Pikeville College to participate in the annual Professional Education Preparation Program (PEPP) that is offered by Pikeville College School of Osteopathic Medicine (PCSOM). This two-week residential program provides high school students from the region with an opportunity to learn about the medical profession. More than 550 students have participated in the college’s program since its inception in 1999.
This year, students will spend two weeks on campus learning anatomy, histology, physiology, biochemistry, pathology, and pharmacology of the 10 major human organ systems through presentations provided by PCSOM faculty and second-year students from PCSOM. PEPP students will participate in gross anatomy and functional anatomy labs at PCSOM and engage in clinical observations at Pikeville Medical Center.
“I’ve always been interested in medicine and wanted to learn more about the different medical fields. PEPP has given me the opportunity to help me decide which area I’d like to focus on,” said Emily Hunt, a junior at Pike Central High School. “My favorite class has been the functional anatomy class and I’m especially interested in sports medicine.”
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 proud of the enthusiasm with which our PEPP students have embraced their two-week introduction to medical education at PCSOM. Since many of these students have expressed a desire to become physicians, I hope their PEPP experiences sustain their motivation to obtain the education needed to realize their dreams,” said Linda Dunatov, associate dean for student affairs at PCSOM.
PCSOM’s mission is to provide an osteopathic medical education that emphasizes primary care, encourages research, promotes lifelong scholarly activity, and produces graduates who are committed to serving the health care needs of communities in Eastern Kentucky and other Appalachian regions.
Spencer County student Jayme Thomas is among the participants in the program.