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New program equips students to impact
The aim for Liberty University’s new master’s in public health program is to train students to impact the world through their future careers, according to Richard Lane, the founder and director of the master’s in public health program.
Lane said the new degree prepares students for work in preventing disease, not only treating it.
“We saw … how we could utilize this degree to reach out to nations in need and use it as a platform to spread the Gospel,” Lane said.
The new program began with 22 students taking an online environmental health course in the fall of 2011, according to Lane, but it has grown to include 740 online students and 33 residential. Students are taught by 53 online faculty members as well as several residential professors.
Lane also said that he looks forward to graduating the first class of the young program. This May, nine students will receive their master’s degree in public health from Liberty. According to Lane, he is excited to see these students impact the world.
“We’re embracing public health, and we’re going full force at it,” Lane said. “We’re doing it so others can embrace the love of Christ. That’s the whole reason we’re doing this.”
In order to graduate, each student must complete a practicum, and public health students meet this requirement through various means around the world.
“It’s basically putting everything they have learned into practice,” Lane said.
According to him, nine students are currently completing practicums in Virginia as well as in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and even Korea.
Lane has done a variety of public health work that he hopes to implement into the program. He recently took a trip to Trinidad, where he corresponded with physicians from Trinidad, Barbados, Guyana and Jamaica.
Lane is also developing a practicum in Guyana and may send students to the country to combat problems of malnutrition in the nation.
“We hope to work at getting people in critical countries, where there’s a need to do public health work … working with governments to solve real problems, real health issues, and, through that, earn the right and the platform to be able to share personally, with people in high positions in other governments, about their faith,” he said.
According to Lane, the idea for the master’s of public health program originated when he met Dr. Jerry Falwell Sr. in Louisiana in 1985. Lane told Falwell about public health, and Falwell mentioned the idea of one day starting a program.
“He was such a visionary,” Lane said. “He saw the medical school that’s going up on the mountain, and I think … he saw a school of public health coming up, and we are in the infancy of doing that. I think God’s saying, ‘Well done.’”