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LUCOM assistant professor Dr. Andrew Behnke receives prestigious Fulbright Grant to Moldova

October 11, 2019 : Logan Smith/Liberty News Service

Dr. Andrew Behnke, assistant professor at the Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine (LUCOM), received a Fulbright Grant to advance medical education in Moldova, a small European country neighboring Romania.

The prestigious Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Just over 800 grants are awarded each year to allow professors to teach and conduct research in over 145 countries. This will be Behnke’s second Fulbright Grant.

“It’s a great honor to have this award bestowed upon myself and to represent Liberty University,” Behnke said. “It’s probably the singular most important award given by the Department of State. It’s very competitive.”

Behnke will teach at Moldova’s primary medical school, Nicolae Testemiţanu, and develop a Western-based curriculum for its administrators and students.

At LUCOM, Behnke teaches internal medicine and endocrinology, specializing in nutrition and diabetes. He is a member of the Lynchburg Academy of Medicine, Medical Society of Virginia, and American Diabetes Association.

“I’ve always liked studying medicine,” Behnke said. “I always excelled in sciences, and I always enjoyed reading about anatomy and physiology.”

Despite his interests in medicine, Behnke followed in his father’s footsteps into the field of engineering. But after some time, even though he excelled academically, Behnke’s heart gradually shifted back toward medicine.

“I just felt this calling,” Behnke said. “I had this huge peace about it, and everything fell into place. We’re all made in the image of God, and we all have incredibly beautiful talents. And when we find our great talent to meet the world’s greatest needs, (we) find our passion in life.”

Behnke later received his medical degree from Pennsylvania State University’s School of Medicine. He also founded the Cumberland Valley Endocrinology Center, a practice in Carlisle, Pa.

In 2018, Behnke joined LUCOM as a full-time employee, contributing as an assistant professor of internal medicine. In addition to teaching, Behnke sees patients as an Endocrinologist at the Liberty Mountain Medical Group.

“I love the ability to sit down with students and share wisdom that I’ve developed,” Behnke said. “If you don’t teach the students well, we’re going to have bad doctors, bad lawyers, bad administrators, and bad educators. It’s up to us — the people who have the experience — to teach. Teaching is probably the highest form of giving back to the community.”

Behnke said dealing with students in a Christian environment is what makes Liberty unique.

“I love the community here at Liberty,” he said. “I love the people I work with and the people I work for. They all have a wonderful Christian attitude. … It’s just a pleasure to come to work with these people.”

Behnke still has responsibilities to the university, so he will continue clinical and teaching duties at LUCOM. His grant will be divided into three, 5-6 week segments over the course of two years. The first segment will begin in March.

The Fulbright program at Liberty University is administered through the Dean’s Office at the Helms School of Government and supervised by the Provost.  To learn more about the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program, contact Edna Udobong, Liberty University Fulbright Scholar Liaison at eudobong3@liberty.edu, and participate in spring information sessions on writing a successful Fulbright grant application.

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