The UT Health Science Center’s College of Health Professions (COHP) was founded in 1972 as the College of Community and Allied Health. The college’s name was abridged to the College of Allied Health Sciences in 1985. In 2014 the name was changed to the College of Health Professions, following a vote by the UT Board of Trustees. The switch to the name Health Professions is in keeping with national trends, and better aligns the college with the vision and mission of the university as articulated by its faculty, students, staff, and alumni.
The college enrolls approximately 600 students across five departments: Audiology and Speech Pathology, Clinical Laboratory Sciences, Health Informatics and Information Management, Occupational Therapy, and Physical Therapy. Depending on the program selected, students obtain training at the bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral levels.
The term ‘allied health’ had been in use since the 1930s, and was coined when the affiliated disciplines were perceived as ancillary to health care. Today, allied health professions, as a diverse group, account for more than half of the health care workforce in the United States.
Over the past several decades, the scope of practice, autonomy, and education of health professions team members have all evolved. As a result, the entry-level education requirements for most health care professions are at the graduate and post-baccalaureate level.
The COHP has more than 8,500 alumni, many of whom work in clinical, administrative, education, and service roles throughout the state of Tennessee and around the world. With its administrative offices and most education programs located on the UTHSC Memphis campus, the college also has a presence in Knoxville where UTHSC has plans to construct a $20 million facility for the college’s Audiology and Speech Pathology Department.