The University of Kentucky School of Medicine held a celebration to commemorate one year of operation at its Bowling Green campus this Wednesday. Numerous UK School of Medicine administrators spoke at the event, including UK president Eli Capilouto.
All speakers commended the school’s growth and progress within the community in a year’s time. This, Capilouto said, was indicative of the school’s commitment to being “the university of, for and with Kentucky.”
Capilouto also championed the school’s original vision for the Bowling Green Campus: benefiting Kentuckians.
“No Kentuckian should have to leave home for the most complicated or sophisticated care,” Capilouto said. “Regardless of how sick they are.”
Capilouto’s vision is slowly becoming a reality: students in the school’s first two classes frequently collaborate with UK School of Medicine in Lexington, MedCenter Health and medical specialists from Western Kentucky on medical research. The research being done then feeds into and betters the Bowling Green community, per the campus's associate dean Todd Cheever.
“What I love the most,” Cheever said, “Is when students come into my office and they say, ‘Dr. Cheever, I have this idea for how we can improve the health in Bowling Green.’ Their ideas and their passion, that’s what we need.”
Enes Atici, a WKU graduate and current UK medical student, spoke on the strides students at the school had made both in their own education and their care of Bowling Green residents.
“We’ve practiced medical care on standardized patients,” Atici said, “and some of my wonderful classmates have even started research projects all here in Bowling Green.”
Atici outlined plans made by the school to host a lecture series on preventative care early next year, followed by the school’s students reaching out to “medically underserved areas” in Bowling Green.
This is all in addition to an $87 million grant given to UK that College of Medicine Dean Robert DiPaola said would be used to combat the opioid crisis.
“Our campus expansions and endeavors are the engine powering the development and discoveries that will make changes in the standards of healthcare possible,” DiPaola said.
The school’s benefits to Kentucky, however, exceed regional medical care and research; 90% of students in the school’s first class are from Kentucky, and the 60 total students in the class represent a quarter of all counties in Kentucky, according to metrics from UK administration.
News reporter Brody Rexing can be reached at Brody.Rexing586@topper.wku.edu.