PIKEVILLE, Ky. – Pikeville Medical Center, a presenting partner of Shaping Our Appalachian Region, Inc. (SOAR), and the University of Pikeville (UPIKE) signed a Memorandum of Cooperation on Thursday, June 21 at the Kentucky College of Optometry.
The agreement was signed by Donovan Blackburn, chief executive officer of PMC, and Burton Webb, Ph.D., president of UPIKE. Blackburn also serves on the board of directors at SOAR.
Jared Arnett, executive director of SOAR, said the Memorandum of Cooperation symbolizes the collaboration taking place across Appalachia Kentucky.
“The Memorandum of Cooperation between Pikeville Medical Center and the University of Pikeville aligns with our Regional Blueprint for a 21st Century Appalachia and our program of work.,” he said. “The health and well-being of our communities and the people who call these communities home is at the core of the economic and community development efforts taking place across Appalachia Kentucky. A healthy and vibrant economy can only be achieved when a healthy community and a healthy workforce is in place. We have made significant strides, but this partnership will serve as a catalyst to accelerate ideas, leverage resources, and serve as best practice for other communities and businesses to follow.”
The Memorandum of Cooperation outlines that the two organizations jointly agree to the following:
· In cooperation with other educational institutes and healthcare providers, we will partner to build health care and educational programs capable of meeting the needs of Eastern Kentucky and Central Appalachia.
· In cooperation with the City of Pikeville, and other businesses that express interest and support, we will begin moving toward the inclusion of Pikeville, Ky., in the World Health Organization’s Healthy Cities initiative;
· To hold joint cabinet and leadership meetings on a regular basis (at least one a quarter);
· To identify and peruse cooperative funding opportunities that might benefit both institutions, including but not limited to grants and gift as well as state and federal funding opportunities;
· To support one another in seeking similar funding opportunities even if the funds benefit one partner more than the other;
· To cooperate on research projects appropriate to the expertise of the employees of PMC and UPIKE;
· To explore opportunities for facilities and/or infrastructure development that would benefit the whole community;
· To encourage federal, state, and local governments to enact policies and initiate projects that place the health of the region at the forefront of their consideration;
· To seek new ways in which we might partner to benefit the City of Pikeville and all of Eastern Kentucky.
“The cooperative agreement is not only important to Pikeville Medical Center and the University of Pikeville, but it is extremely important to the area we serve,” said Blackburn. “As two of Eastern Kentucky’s largest drivers of the economy, health care and education, having a cooperative effort in place will brighten the future of our entire region.”
Webb added, “A hospital that is growing and accomplishing great things and a university that has been innovative over the last 125 years creates a wonderful opportunity for collaboration. At the heart of the Memorandum of Cooperation lies a great synergy between the hospital and the university. Moving forward, together, in the same direction will have a positive impact on our region for years to come.”
To learn more about Pikeville Medical Center, visit https://www.pikevillehospital.org/. To learn more about the University of Pikeville, visit http://www.upike.edu/. To learn more about SOAR, visit https://soar-ky.org/.