UPIKE names founding dean of Kentucky College of Optometry

Release and photo courtesy of University of Pikeville Public Affairs. View the original on UPIKE.edu.

Andrew Buzzelli O.D., M.S.Pikeville, Ky. – On behalf of the University of Pikeville Board of Trustees, President James Hurley announced the appointment of Andrew Buzzelli O.D., M.S., as the founding dean of the Kentucky College of Optometry.

Buzzelli, who currently serves as dean and professor of the Rosenberg School of Optometry at University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas, will assume the leadership position in July. Recognized as an authority in the field of binocular vision and visual perception, he has taught programs in the diagnosis and treatment of acquired brain injury, pediatric optometry and binocular vision, as well as child abuse and intimate partner violence. Buzzelli is one of 36 optometrists in the world recognized as a diplomat in binocular vision and perception for the American Academy of Optometry.

“After conducting a highly competitive national search we concluded that Dr. Andrew Buzzelli is the perfect fit and has all the values that we expect in our founding dean,” said Hurley. “Dr. Buzzelli has the experience, knowledge and passion to build the University of Pikeville-Kentucky College of Optometry into a national leader in optometric education. We look forward to Andy joining our UPIKE family.”

Buzzelli received his doctorate in optometry from the Illinois College of Optometry in Chicago, Ill. He holds a Master of Science degree in child development and visual perception from the State University of New York. He has practiced in the private health care sector as a specialist in dysfunctions of binocular vision and visual information processing disorders. Academic appointments include the State University of New York, Salus University, where he was also appointed to the board of trustees, and Georgian Court University.

“The University of Pikeville-Kentucky College of Optometry will combine three key ingredients in establishing a unique, stellar college of optometry, practicing full scope optometric care, providing access for rural Appalachia and Kentucky and continuing its tradition of being a faith-based institution,” said Buzzelli. “The school will evolve the great full scope of optometric care that has been gifted to us by the Kentucky Optometric Association, the Kentucky State Board of Optometry and the legislators of the great Commonwealth of Kentucky.”

A noted international lecturer, Buzzelli served as a consultant to the National Aeronautic and Space Administration for the medical protocols currently utilized on the International Space Station. The author of more than 25 articles in both optometric and military publications and a recognized expert in the field of chemical and biological weapons, Buzzelli authored the first-ever ophthalmic textbook series for the treatment and management of injuries resultant from terrorist attack.

A retired colonel in the United States Air Force, Buzzelli has held command positions as the chief of optometry for the 105th Military Airlift Wing and commander of the 105th Medical Group. He served as the assistant to the command surgeon for Air Force Material Command and was selected as the chief advisor to the Air Force Surgeon General on matters of policy, operations and utilization of the entire 107,000 membership of the Air National Guard.

Buzzelli said the Kentucky College of Optometry will follow the university’s lead in providing cutting-edge science and health care, creating a culture of access to health care and health care education and providing vision care to rural Central Appalachia and Kentucky.

The University of Pikeville will be the 22nd school in the country to have a college of optometry. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for optometrists is expected to grow faster than average nationally, by 33 percent through 2020, adding more than 11,000 new positions. Health care reform and an aging population are also expected to impact the need. Plans to build a new educational facility to house the Kentucky College of Optometry are under way. Sixty students will be admitted per class, for a total of 240. The university expects to welcome the first class in the fall of 2016.