State-of-the-art laboratory equipment recently arrived for University of the Cumberlands’ Physician Assistant (PA) program. The purchase of this equipment was made possible by the Eaton and Bizzack families, as well as other friends of the University. The newly-updated laboratories are located in the Terry and Marion Forcht Medical Wing on Cumberlands’ campus.
New laboratory equipment included the latest model of the Anatomage table (a digital human cadaver and learning center), an ultrasound machine and upgraded medical manikins equipped with inpatient monitors.
In 2018, Cumberlands began a campaign to replace some of the laboratory equipment used by its PA program. When Gary Bizzack heard of the campaign, he offered to match the funds raised by the University dollar-for-dollar. Due to the generosity of the Eaton and Bizzack families, along with other donors, the PA laboratory at Cumberlands is now equipped with some of the most advanced technology being used by medical programs in the U.S. today.
Advanced medical technology is not cheap; combined, the new laboratory items cost more than $127,000. But to Gary Bizzack, a Kentucky businessman with two uncles who work in the medical field, the educational value of the equipment is worth the donation.
“The PA program at Cumberlands provides viable assistance to medical doctors in the area and beyond,” said Bizzack. “I see the priority of meeting these medical needs at this time. It is in honor of my parents and as a tribute to all of my family with ties to Whitley County that I am happy to make this collaborative grant challenge and share it with the University.”
The Eaton and Bizzack families have strong ties to the community and University of the Cumberlands, and have for decades. In fact, the late Lewis Bizzack and Beulah (Eaton) Bizzack initially met in Williamsburg, enjoying friendships with community members, First Baptist Church, and Cumberlands from that point on. Several members of the family attended classes at the University. One family member, Dr. James Manning, graduated from Cumberlands in 1981 and teaches physics there.
“The incredible contributions of the Eaton and Bizzack families is greatly appreciated,” said Dr. Larry L. Cockrum, President of the University. “Their investment in our students and our programs will make a significant and lasting impact here in the mountains of Appalachia for years to come. It is because of their help that Cumberlands is better equipped to change lives and save lives while improving the healthcare in our underserved area and throughout the nation.”
Bizzack added, “I encourage any friends of my parents and members of the Eaton and Bizzack families to participate in this exciting opportunity to meet Cumberlands’ growing challenge to expand medical education and services throughout the Commonwealth of Kentucky and the region.”
Cumberlands’ PA program, hosted on the University’s Williamsburg campus, began a few years ago and had a 100 percent passing rate for the PANCE (Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam) by its first cohort in 2017. The program may be completed in just 27 months.
An information session regarding Cumberlands’ PA program will be held at the Williamsburg campus on April 13. All interested may register at ucumberlands.edu.