Liberty University Dedicates Osteopathic Medical Center

{}Lynchburg, VA- Liberty University unveiled its new $41 million Center for Medical and Health Sciences Friday. Students, staff and faculty gathered among guests to dedicate the 144,000 square foot facility. {}LU broke ground for the building in November 2012 and moved into the building officially this past June. {}It is now home to the Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine LUCOM and the Master of Public Health program under the School of Health and Sciences.{}President Jerry Falwell Jr. presided over the dedication ceremony, which had a number of guests from all over the state, told ABC 13 News that the opening of LUCOM fulfilled a nine year vision, "I think it sorta completes the circle for Liberty University, it's the last missing piece for Liberty being a world class university."

When asked why LU went toward a school of osteopathic medicine instead of allallopathic traditional medicine, Falwell said, {}"All the students learn everything that a medical doctor learns plus manipulation and it appealed to Liberty because it's treating the whole person, the spiritual person." {}He also said that the up front costs involved with a traditional medical school can run upwards of several hundred millions of dollars in research money, money that LU didn't have at the moment. Falwell and Dr. Ronnie Martin, dean of LUCOM said that the school will eventually expand into surgical and research training down the road. However, for now the focus for the class of 2018 and the foreseeable future is to train primary care physicians and to keep them in Virginia. "So training them here is very important. One of Virginia's problems is that we've been a great exporter of physicians. We graduate great docs from VCU and UVA but they go up north. And only 23 percent come back," Martin said. {}

The class of 2018 consists of 80 men and 82 women, thirty one of them are native Virginians.{}