Who are Allied health professionals?

It has been mentioned that after World War ll, there was an increasing demand for medical diagnostics and treatment procedures. Apart from hospitals, a new trend of treating patients in the physician’s private or group set-up and also the use of ambulatory or mobile clinics was spurred.

Hence, the new concept of Allied health got popularized for the common good of the society which unifies the medical and healthcare services delivery. In September 1967, ASAHP, a non-profit organization was chartered in response to the need for an association to relate to improving the quality and quantity of needed workforce in health professions.

Who are Allied health professionals?

Allied Health is a term used to describe the broad group of health professionals who use scientific principles and evidence-based practice for

  • The diagnosis, evaluation, and treatment of acute and chronic diseases
  • Promote disease prevention and wellness for optimum health
  • Dietary and nutrition services
  • Rehabilitation and health systems management.

Allied health professionals may include many of the well-known non-nurse, non-physician health care providers including;

  • Dental personnel (Dental hygienists and dental assistants)
  • Pharmacy personnel (pharmacy technicians and assistants)
  • Diagnostic medical personnel (Medical laboratory scientists, cytogenetic technologists, diagnostic molecular scientists, histo-technologists, and pathologists’ assistants)
  • Dietitians and nutritionists
  • Exercise science professionals (Athletic trainer, exercise physiologists, etc)
  • Health Educators and counselors (Diabetes educator, Asthma educator, mental health counselor, etc)
  • Occupational, physical, and respiratory therapists
  • Imaging specialists (radiographers, nuclear medicine technologists, and sonographers)
  • Speech-language pathologists
  • Paramedics

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Allied health is defined in the Federal Code and further defined in The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA).  Allied health is also included in eligibility criteria for participation in grant programs administered by the U.S. Department of Labor and the U.S. Public Health Service.

The ACA (P.L. 111-148) defines allied health professionals as follows:  1) ALLIED HEALTH PROFESSIONAL.—The term“allied health professional” means an allied health professional as defined in section 799B(5) of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 295p(5)) who—

  • has graduated and received an allied health professions degree or certificate from an institution of higher education; and
  • is employed with a Federal, State, local or tribal public health agency, or in a setting or in a setting where patients might require health care services, including acute care facilities, ambulatory care facilities, personal residences, and other settings located in health professional shortage areas, medically undeserved areas, or medically undeserved populations, as recognized by the Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Resource: Association of Schools of Allied Health Professional (ASAHP)

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