The mission of the Department of Allied Health Sciences is to improve the quality and accessibility of health care for the people of North Carolina, and the world, through exemplary teaching, innovative research, and patient-centered clinical practice.
- Exemplary teaching: To produce excellent health care practitioners and researchers who are prepared to provide leadership to their disciplines and their future work settings.
- Innovative research: To conduct research and generate new knowledge that will inform future practice and policy in allied health disciplines.
- Patient-centered clinical practice: To advance the art and science of clinical practice with a focus on patient outcomes and quality of life.
The “Department of Medical Allied Health Professions” (DMAHP) was formally established as an academic department of the UNC School of Medicine in 1970. Prior to that year, allied health personnel training at UNC was conducted under the auspices of the North Carolina Memorial Hospital (NCMH), and was delivered by staff of individual clinical units within the hospital. Recognizing the need to separate these educational activities from the clinical service responsibilities of hospital personnel, the administration of the UNCMH and the UNC School of Medicine agreed to combine these separate training programs into one academic department. In September 1971, a total of 105 students enrolled in this new department. The original DMAHP programs were medical technology, physical therapy, chaplaincy, cytotechnology, radiology technology, blood bank technology, and histopathology. In 1998 the department's name changed to the Department of Allied Health Sciences (DAHS).
Today, the department enrolls more than 400 students and offers academic programs ranging from entry-level professional certificates through advanced professional doctorates and research PhDs. The department includes seven divisions: Clinical Laboratory Science, Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Radiologic Science, Clinical Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling, Physician Assistant Studies, and Speech and Hearing Sciences.
In addition, the DAHS is home for several specialized programs, projects, and labs, including the Center for Literacy and Disability Studies, Center for Human Movement Science, the Program for Early Autism Research, Leadership & Service (PEARLS), and the Neurodiagnostics and Sleep Science program. The department has two faculty clinics, the UNC Hearing and Communication Center and University Physical Therapy, as well as other clinical service endeavors.
The DAHS is a department in the UNC School of Medicine, part of the Health Affairs division at UNC-Chapel Hill. The chair of DAHS also serves as an associate dean of the medical school. Each of the seven divisions in this department has a division director with administrative responsibility for all aspects of that division’s operation. In addition to the chair/associate dean, the department’s administration includes an associate chair for research, associate chair for student services, development director, and assistant chair for finance and administration.