For example, the American Medical Association (AMA) recently published a survey of allied health professionals conducted by the AMA Organized Medical Staff Section in association with the National Association of Medical Staff Services (AMA, 2010). The professionals included in that survey were clinical nurse specialists, nurse anesthetists, nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, counselors, physician assistants, chiropractors, podiatrists, and dentists—not all of whom would commonly be considered allied health professionals, as Gale observed.

The following definition of allied health is generally used:

Allied health professionals are involved with the delivery of health or related services pertaining to the identification, evaluation, and prevention of diseases and disorders; dietary and nutrition services; rehabilitation; and health systems management, among others. Allied health professionals, to name a few, include dental hygienists, diagnostic medical sonographers, dietitians, medical technologists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, radiographers, respiratory therapists, and speech-language pathologists. (ASAHP, 2011; DOL, 2010)

In its Occupational Outlook Handbook, the Bureau of Labor Statistics lists health diagnosing and treating practitioners as audiologists, chiropractors, dentists, dietitians and nutritionists, occupational therapists, optometrists, pharmacists, physician assistants, physicians and surgeons, podiatrists, radiation therapists, recreational therapists, registered nurses, respiratory therapists, speech-language pathologists, and veterinarians (BLS, 2011). It lists health technologists and technicians as athletic trainers; cardiovascular technologists and technicians; clinical laboratory technologists and technicians; dental hygienists; diagnostic medical sonographers; emergency medical technicians and paramedics; licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses; medical records and health information technicians; nuclear medicine technologists; occupational health and safety specialists; occupational health and safety technicians; dispensing opticians; pharmacy technicians and aides; radiologic technologists and technicians; surgical technologists; and veterinary technologists and technicians (BLS, 2011). These listings mix people with very different degree levels and include prominent omissions, such as physical therapists, Gale noted.


According to Gale, the AMA began overseeing allied health education in the 1930s. In that decade, the American Occupational Therapy Association, the American Society for Clinical Pathology, and the American Physical Therapy Association all began working with the AMA Council on Medical Education on educational standards. Health information adminis-

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