Educating Health Care Professionals — One of the Largest Schools in the Nation

Lori Rice Spearman, Ph.D.

When a person thinks of the medical field, a physician or nurse may come to mind. But when it comes to health professions, there is another provider that is vital to health care – allied health professionals. These professionalsplay an essential role in the delivery of health care in the U.S. and can includephysical therapists, occupational therapists, physician assistants, speech-language pathologists, audiologists, clinical laboratory scientists, health care administrators, addiction counselors and clinical mental health counselors.
With the celebration of the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) 50th Anniversary this year, our community celebrates our rich history and why our institution was founded. The key reason was to provide more physicians to our area. Fast forward 50 years, not only has this institution educated physicians but other health care professionals. The TTUHSC School of Health Professions (formerly the School of Allied Health Sciences) has grown to offer 20 academic degree, making the school one of the largest in the nation.
The School of Health Professions continually has expanded to innovatively meet the growing health care needs of this and other communities across the nation. With a high demand for these professions, our school is training some of the most qualified health care professionals.


Each School of Health Professions program features world-renowned faculty dedicated to research and patient care. 

The reason for our success – our faculty, staff and students. The school employs world-renowned faculty dedicated to research and patient care. This commitment to a culture of academic excellence spells success for our students’ outcomes. TTUHSC School of Health Professions students excel with a 93 percent first-time pass rate for students required to complete licensure or certification requirement. Our students also have a 100 percent job placement rate for licensed practitioners and 100 percent of our speech-language pathology graduates have passed the national certification exam for 11 consecutive years.
The Association of Schools of Allied Health Professions stated that as much as 60 percent of the U.S. health care workforce may be classified as allied health. With the need for these professionals, we seek ways to prepare the most experienced health care providers.

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Students from different programs get opportunities to learn together for interdisciplinary collaboration.

Our students’ educational experience may include rotations and specialties that make them a more well-rounded professional.

·      Physician assistant students complete 100 percent of primary care rotations in West Texas and provide more than 2.5 million patient visits per year.
·      The Department of Clinical Counseling and Mental Health is the first counseling department in the nation that requires all students to obtain a certificate in telehealth.
·      The TTUHSC Speech-Language-Hearing clinic offers an interprofessional collaborative treatment for children and adults with speech, language, swallowing and hearing problems. The clinic had 2,781 patient visits in this academic year. 
·      The Stroke & Aphasia Recovery (STAR) Program serves approximately 40 stroke and brain injury survivors and 25 caregivers every week during the fall and spring semesters.


TTUHSC School of Health Professions offers 20 academic degree, making the school one of the largest in the nation

All these are examples of how the TTUHSC School of Health Professions is educating a strong health care work force. We are the largest School of Health Professions in Texas and one of the largest in the nation in relation to the breadth of programs and the number of enrolled students and graduates. 
Because we provide such a large number of clinicians for our region and state, it is vital that our School of Health Professions develops critical thinkers who will become innovators in their professional fields. 
Walking the halls of our university, we are thankful for the vision of our founding leaders. That vision has expanded to educate all health care professionals and allow us to fulfill our mission of expanding access and improving the quality of health care. We are making a positive impact in the communities we serve in Texas and across the nation.
Lori Rice Spearman, Ph.D., is dean of the TTUHSC School of Health Professions.

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