Known as the Center for Excellence in Health and Life Sciences, the program will promote the teaching and learning of health and life sciences at the University of Liberia, with funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Higher Education for Development (HED).
The project is jointly being implemented by the Indiana University, the University of Liberia, the Tubman National Institute of Medical Art (TNIMA), and the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Its objectives include developing the center for excellence in the health and life sciences with universities, non-governmental organizations, and government representatives to oversee the creation and coordination of a comprehensive multidisciplinary health sciences curriculum at the UL.
Addressing the launch of the project, UL president, Dr. Emmet A. Dennis, said the program was an addition to several others being introduced in the school by its Administration for the benefit of students.
Though every college is important, he said, Science and Technology are significant to the survival of human race nowadays, and as such, they need to be given attention.
In addition to the objectives, the program will help revise the UL’s four-year undergraduate life science curriculum in Biology and Chemistry. This includes Health Sciences and a new two-year undergraduate core curriculum leading to professional upper division degree program in nursery, public health, medicine and biotechnology.
It will also help strengthen the pre-clinical science curriculum of the Dogliotti School of Medicine and Pharmacy, including instructional support from three-full time faculty appointees, curriculum revision and development and enhancement of medical library and other learning resources.
Moreover, the program will foster faculty and staff development of UL Science instructors, instructional and curriculum support through two faculty appointees, and development of improved Pedagogy and service learning programs for students.
It will also improve the quality of science training for the Tubman National Institute of Medical Art (TNIMA), nurses, midwives, and physician assistants, through a government supported joint four-year nursery program with the University of Liberia, and improve the training of nurses through a nursery training program at the John F. Kennedy Medical Center.
Additionally, the program will increase the number of public health specialists by building support for and initiating an undergraduate certificate program and first undergraduate four-year degree program in Public Health in Liberia.
Accordingly, the Center for Excellence program is also intended to increase UL’s print and electronic teaching and learning resources at the A.M. Dogliotti School of Medicine and Pharmacy, the TNIMA, and the Thomas J.R. Faulkner College of Science and Technology. It will help to increase UL’s outreach activities as well as its capacity to raise additional financial support for further development in health and life sciences.
For her part, Dr. Wvanne Mae-Scott McDonald said the program would, for the first time, allow students of the TNIMA to pursue higher degree in nursery and related areas of human discipline.
She added, “This will now be the point of connecting the TNIMA with the University of Liberia, and I’m delighted to extend my appreciation for this connection.”
For her part, USAID Mission Director Patricia Rader formally launched the program which, she said, was a part of the US Government’s commitment to promoting excellent learning environment and developing the human resource of Liberia.
Representing President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf at the program was Foreign Minister Augustine Ngafuan. He said the government had been concentrating on lifting Liberia. On the basis of that, the former Finance Minister said the government was concerned with implementing programs that enhanced the realization of the Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS), which involves economic revitalization, security, basic social services, amongst others.
“But now,” Minister Ngafuan noted, “government is more concerned about lifting Liberians. This involves making employment opportunities available for the citizens and building up the human resource capacity.”
Dr. Vuyu Golakai, vice president for Health and Life Sciences and Dean of the A.M. Dogliotti College of Medicine, recalled that much of what Liberians had were destroyed during the war. He said many of the facilities for the program already existed at the university which, he noted, serves as a gateway to restoring what was damaged.
Dr. Golakai then called for collaborative efforts to realize what is good for the country. He then assured UL President Dennis that they, as co-workers, would stand by him to realize the goal of development for the program.