Health Science Center school renamed to showcase health professions

SAN ANTONIO (Aug. 18, 2008)—A national movement away from the term “allied health” led to renaming of one of the five schools of The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

The School of Allied Health Sciences at the Health Science Center is now the School of Health Professions in recognition of its mission to educate clinical laboratory scientists, dental hygienists, emergency health scientists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, physician assistants, respiratory therapists, dental laboratory technologists, teachers of the deaf and hearing impaired, and dieticians. Each of these health professionals is a fundamental and primary member of the health care system.

The UT System Board of Regents approved the name change Aug. 14.

Among members of the Association of Schools of Allied Health Professions, a substantial number have dropped the term “allied health” since the 1990s.

“Respiratory therapists, clinical laboratory scientists and other professionals educated in our school perform indispensible functions in the care of patients. This name is a new way to express that,” Marilyn S. Harrington, Ph.D., dean of the School of Health Professions, said.

The school’s educational offers are unchanged, and the renaming won’t affect existing accreditations within the school or re-accreditation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Dr. Harrington said.

The allied health schools at the UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas and the UT Medical Branch in Galveston were also renamed in the Regents’ action.

The UT Health Science Center San Antonio School of Health Professions enrolls at least 600 students a year who are studying for careers in a variety of fields, including physician assistant studies and physical therapy. The programs offer baccalaureate and master’s degrees, while physical therapy has moved to offering a professional doctoral degree. Physical therapy will admit its first doctoral student class this fall.

In the 2008 “Best Graduate Schools” section of U.S. News & World Report, the UT Health Science Center physician assistant studies degree program was ranked among the top 20 in the nation. The occupational therapy degree program was ranked among the top 50 nationwide.

The Health Science Center physical therapy degree program was ranked in the top 85 among the approximately 200 physical therapy programs nationwide.

The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio is the leading research institution in South Texas and one of the major health sciences universities in the world. With an operating budget of $576 million, the Health Science Center is the chief catalyst for the $15.3 billion biosciences and health care sector in San Antonio’s economy. The Health Science Center has had an estimated $35 billion impact on the region since inception and has expanded to six campuses in San Antonio, Laredo, Harlingen and Edinburg. More than 23,000 graduates (physicians, dentists, nurses, scientists and allied health professionals) serve in their fields, including many in Texas. Health Science Center faculty are international leaders in cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, aging, stroke prevention, kidney disease, orthopaedics, research imaging, transplant surgery, psychiatry and clinical neurosciences, pain management, genetics, nursing, allied health, dentistry and many other fields. For more information, visit

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