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A History: College of Allied Health

College of Allied Health

In 1967, the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education approved the establishment of an academic home for allied health educational programs.  Some programs, including a long-standing physical therapy program, were already in existence at University Hospital, and the need for additional baccalaureate and graduate-level allied health programs was well recognized.  There were 12 departments proposed:   clinical social work, cytotechnology, dental education, inhalation therapy technology, medical library science, medical records administration, medical technology, nutrition and dietetics, occupational therapy, orthoptics and ophthalmic assistants, physical therapy, and radiologic technology.   In 1969 the OSRHE authorized the OU request for the establishment of the departments within the college. 

The School of Health Related Professions was activated in 1970 with the appointment of Philip E. Smith, Sc.D., as dean, and the dean’s office was in the southwest corner of the first floor of the Medical School located at the intersection of NE 13th and Phillips streets.  A total of 136 students were enrolled in 5 different disciplines and 3 other training programs organized.  Dr. Smith, who had been an associate dean in both the College of Medicine and the Graduate College, worked closely with OU President Paul F. Sharp in shaping allied health programs on the Oklahoma City campus. 

In 1976, all of the college’s programs moved into the historic College of Health Building, the former Medical School, which was regarded as the college’s “first home”.   In 2009 the college once again moved, this time into a stunning new high tech, 114,000 gross square foot building in the heart of campus, close to the Bird Library, the David L. Boren Student Center, and other academic colleges and facilities. 

The college has had four deans:  founding dean, Philip E. Smith, Sc.D., 1970-1982; Lee Holder, Ph.D., 1982-1994; Carole A. Sullivan, Ph.D., 1994-2007; and P. Kevin Rudeen, Ph.D., 2007 – present.  

The college is the only one of its kind at a senior institution in Oklahoma and among the major allied health colleges in the region. Diagnosis of disease and disorders, wellness and prevention, therapeutic and rehabilitative services encompass the spectrum of professional programs in the College of Allied Health.  Faculty offer continuing education programs for practitioners in Oklahoma and the region, and faculty development seminars for clinicians involved with professional-entry programs in the College.

The College extended its accredited professional-entry programs in Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy to the OU Tulsa campus in 1998.  In 2002, the College offered OU's first web-based graduate degree program in Rehabilitation Sciences and in 2003 its first post-professional web-based undergraduate degree program in Radiation Sciences.  The professional-entry accredited program in Sonography was extended to the OU-Tulsa campus in fall 2006 and in fall 2007 the professional-entry accredited program in Radiography was extended to the OU-Tulsa campus.

The College also has 3 centers:  the Oklahoma Assistive Technology Center, Lee Mitchener Tolbert Library and Resource Center for Developmental Disabilities, which houses the Oklahoma Autism Network, and the John W. Keys Speech and Hearing Center, which is part of the Allied Health Clinic. 

Currently the College of Allied Health consists of 21 programs and an enrollment of nearly 700 students ranging from Bachelors to Doctoral Levels.  Primary degree programs consist of physical therapy (DPT), occupational therapy (MOT), Speech Pathology (Master SLP), Audiology (AuD), Nutrition/Dietetics (MA/MS/Certificate),  Medical Imaging (Sonography, Radiography – BS), and Radiation Sciences (Radiation Therapy, Nuclear Medicine Technology – BS; Medical Dosimetry – MA). There are additional discipline specific Ph.D. programs and one DSc. program. Several of our professional programs are the only programs offered in the state (e.g., Audiology, Masters of Occupational Therapy, Masters in Medical Dosimetry).