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Liberty Journal

Medical School moving forward

Spring 2012 : By Ron Brown

 

Liberty University has taken its first step toward establishing its new School of Osteopathic Medicine by hiring a dean who has years of experience practicing medicine as well as navigating all the procedures necessary to build a fully accredited school of medicine.

Dr. Ronnie B. Martin, a past president of the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians, comes to Liberty from the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine in Blacksburg, where he served as a professor, Associate Regional Dean, Associate Dean for Clinical Education and Vice Dean for Post Graduate Affairs.

He was a practicing physician for more than 20 years before primarily, but not exclusively, turning his attention on medical education in 2003.

Dr. Ronnie B. Martin is the dean of the new School of Osteopathic Medicine.

As a practicing physician, Martin served as an emergency room doctor, a family physician and a director of medical clinics.

As a medical educator he played a leading role in founding, building and achieving accreditation for a fledgling osteopathic school in Colorado, but has also served in the role of an accreditor of osteopathic schools.

Liberty’s School of Osteopathic Medicine will eventually seek accreditation through the Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation where Martin himself previously served.  Liberty University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

The medical school will train doctors capable of providing world-class medical care in keeping with Liberty’s stated mission of global service.  Because of the diversity of interests and global origins of Liberty’s student body, Liberty-educated physicians will likely be found practicing in communities around the world, in America’s military and, certainly, in Christian missionary service.

Chancellor Jerry Falwell, Jr. said students will be rewarded financially if they choose to practice medicine in Southside Virginia.  Falwell said, “Liberty will encourage its medical students to begin their medical careers in underserved communities in Southside Virginia and is strongly considering student loan forgiveness as an incentive in that regard.”

While the Tobacco Commission grant helps with startup cost, raising the lion’s share of the $40 million price tag for the new 100,000-square-foot facility will fall to the university. The new building will be originally named the Liberty University Center for Medical and Health Sciences, but could be renamed if a significant donor is found.

The schools are expected to create an additional 400 new jobs over the next five years. Liberty University is already one of the region’s largest employers with more than 6,000 employees (3,591 FTE).

The School of Osteopathic Medicine is expecting 140 students in its first year, growing to 600. The School of Health Sciences may eventually accommodate 5,000 students. Students who live in qualified tobacco indemnification communities will receive a 5-percent tuition discount as part of Liberty’s agreement with the Tobacco Commission.

“The School of Health Sciences and The School of Osteopathic Medicine housed as they will be in the new Liberty University Center for Medical and Health Sciences will dramatically enhance our reputation as not only a distinctively Christian but also a world-class university,” said Dr. Ronald S. Godwin, Liberty’s Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs.