Liberty signs agreement with Centra

The College of Osteopathic Medicine and Centra Health have begun a five-year partnership to train students


New school — Ronnie B. Martin, dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine, speaks during an affiliation agreement. Photo credit: Emily Webster

Liberty University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine held a private celebration for the beginning of a five-year affiliation agreement with Centra, Monday, April 15, in the Hancock Welcome Center.

The celebration included speeches from Chancellor Jerry Falwell Jr., Dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine Ronnie B. Martin and former President and CEO of Centra W. Michael Bryant. According to Martin, this partnership will allow students to be trained for residency programs by Centra physicians.

“It gives us the opportunity to really move forward with our education,” Martin said. “You cannot develop the school without a stable, long-term partner. It shows that you can provide all of the education for your students. This partnership, this affiliation, will expand our opportunities in nursing.”

According to Martin, part of the reason that Centra was chosen for this partnership is the fact that they are located in Virginia, giving students the opportunity to stay in the area if desired. Another reason for this agreement, however, was Centra’s quality health care system.

“They have a reputation for an excellent practice in medicine,” Martin said. “They have a very wide diversity of physicians, and they have a major commitment to this area. Much like us, they have this commitment (to) providing service to the people in this area, and they fit our mission and vision in that regard. They provide all of the essential services that we need to train our students.”

Bryant, who recently resigned, said that he knew he could not pass up an opportunity to collaborate with Liberty and that this partnership will help Centra accomplish its mission.

“Our mission is excellent care, every time, and part of that means we’ve got to have quality, well-educated physicians who will be here to help us accomplish that mission,” Bryant said. “So, the opportunity to accomplish our mission in collaboration with such an outstanding institution as Liberty was really more than too hard to pass up.”

With the opportunity to learn under Centra physicians, Bryant said that students will see firsthand their commitment to quality and service.

“It’s not a low bar to be a physician, and if you’re going to be an outstanding physician, (students) are going to learn very early if they meet that standard,” Bryant said. “I think they’re going to see a commitment of excellence by our physicians, a thirst for knowledge, and the excitement of taking care of people.”

Once the school receives accreditation, Martin said that the recruiting process will begin with classes starting in August 2014.

“The future holds that we will have the opportunity to make the difference in a lot of people’s lives, both our own students and faculty and the patients that they’ll take care of for a lot of years,” Martin said. “The future is that we can become even more of an important player in the quality in life for all of the people that live in this region.”

Both Martin and Bryant expressed gratitude for the support and vision that has been given from the Liberty and medical communities.

According to Martin, the affiliation with Centra is a reflection of the support received from hundreds of physicians in the area. Bryant expressed special thanks to Falwell, Martin and Godwin for their leadership and vision.

“To see something like this and put the effort and time, resources and energy to get to this point is truly amazing,” Bryant said. “It certainly should give everyone in the Liberty community great confidence in their visionary leadership and their ability to make things happen for the benefit of the people that we’re all privileged to serve. Congratulations to the whole Liberty family for this historic day in health care in Central Virginia.”

For more information about the College of Osteopathic Medicine, go to their official site,

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