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House bill would grant EKU the right to offer postgraduate osteopathic medicine degrees

Samantha Morrill

A bill passed by the state House Committee on Education would allow Eastern Kentucky University to offer doctoral degrees in osteopathic medicine.

House Bill 407 is meant to address a shortage of primary care physicians across the Commonwealth. The curriculum would involve two years in the classroom and two years of clinical rotations in the field.

Representative David Meade, a Republican from the 80th District and Speaker Pro Tempore, introduced the bill during the Committee’s Tuesday meeting.

“We all have heard the issues across this state, especially in rural communities with a lack of physicians and lack of access to healthcare,” Meade said. “And we have continued to tell our universities to come with some type of solution.”

EKU President David McFadden said during the Committee meeting that the program would push graduates towards more rural and underserved communities.

“Only 17 percent of our primary care physicians are practicing in those rural communities,” McFadden said. “In those underserved areas, we have only 27 percent of those who are completing those degrees who are practicing in that space.”

The bill now heads to the House floor for consideration. McFaddin says EKU is currently accepting proposals for a feasibility study, and that the inaugural class would graduate in 2031 if the bill passes this session.

Shepherd joined WEKU in June 2023 as a staff reporter. He most recently worked for West Virginia Public Broadcasting as General Assignment Reporter. In that role, he collected interviews and captured photos in the northern region of West Virginia. Shepherd holds a master’s degree in Digital Marketing Communication and a bachelor’s in music from West Virginia University.
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