Located in the scenic foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in southwest Virginia, a new osteopathic medical school will welcome up to 150 students in August. Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine (LUCOM), the second DO school in the state, aims to address physician shortages in Appalachia and other medically underserved regions of the country.
Opening a college of osteopathic medicine rather than an MD school was a clear choice for the university’s governing board members, according to Dr. Ronnie Martin, dean of Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine. “They [the board members] felt that the osteopathic medicine philosophy of holistic patient-centered care with an emphasis on the body, mind, and spirit was compatible and consistent with the Christian worldview.”
LUCOM’s mission is to produce community-based physicians who will practice needed specialties in underserved locales. These specialties include family medicine, general internal medicine, pediatrics, general surgery, emergency medicine, and obstetrics and gynecology.
“We will prepare our students to enter any discipline,” Dr. Martin says. “But through the design of our curriculum and the faculty role models I put in front of them, we are going to try to influence students to go into these primary and preventive care specialties.”
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