History and milestones


The School of Health Professions became an independent academic unit by action of the University of Missouri Board of Curators on Dec. 14, 2000. The school’s programs have a long and distinguished history, some dating back to the early 1900s, and have produced many well respected and nationally recognized professionals.

At the time of its establishment, the school consisted of five departments, including Clinical and Diagnostic Sciences; Health Psychology; Occupational Therapy; Physical Therapy; and Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences. Addressing the increasing health care needs of Missouri and across the nation, the school has continued to grow in programs to prepare professionals in health care, public health and social work.

As Missouri’s only state-supported school of health professions on a campus with an academic health center, we are uniquely positioned to educate highly qualified health care, public health and social work professionals. Students gain valuable experience through our school’s clinics and community outreach programs. They also train at more than 800 fieldwork sites across the nation.

In addition to becoming skilled practitioners, our graduates will assume leadership responsibilities as faculty, researchers, and administrators in their respective disciplines. Our commitment to improving the health and well-being of individuals and communities through teaching, research and service has never been stronger.



The School of Health Professions becomes an independent academic unit. Richard Oliver, BS MT ’71, M Ed ’73, PhD ’77, who previously served as the school’s director, is named dean. Enrollment sits at 509.

Department of Health Psychology is formed, with psychology faculty from the MU Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, and joins the school.

The Robert G. Combs Language Preschool opens for children ages 2 to 5 years with speech and language difficulties. Students participate as clinicians-in-training under the direct supervision of clinical faculty with certification and state licensure in speech-language pathology.


The Thompson Center for Autism & Neurodevelopmental Disorders is founded under the leadership of Janet Farmer, professor of Health Psychology, with participation from other School of Health Professions faculty.

A pediatric occupational therapy clinic is established, offering hands-on clinical opportunities for student practitioners. A year later an adult clinic is added. The clinics are later renamed TigerOT.

The University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Pharmacy opens a satellite location in Columbia in collaboration with the School of Health Professions to help address the state’s pharmacist shortage.


The Department of Physical Therapy converts the Master of Physical Therapy to the Doctorate in Physical Therapy.


The Master of Public Health program begins. The College of Veterinary Medicine is a key collaborator for the veterinary public health emphasis.


The Health Sciences major launches with an enrollment of 227 students. Today, it is one of the most popular majors on campus, enrolling 1,692 students in spring 2020.


The school becomes the first in the country to offer a health literacy certificate to health professionals.

The Master of Public Health program is accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health, making it the first one of its kind at a public university in Missouri.


The Department of Health Sciences is created, bringing together faculty affiliated with the Health Sciences major.

PhysZou is created as a student-run, volunteer pro bono clinic associated with the Department of Physical Therapy. In 2013, the clinic is formally integrated into the curriculum, providing additional hands-on learning for physical therapy students.


Dean Oliver retires, and Kristofer Hagglund, who had served as associate dean since 2001, takes the reins. Enrollment has grown to 2,500 with 1,300 Health Science majors.


The school debuts a Bachelor of Health Science in Public Health degree.


The Master of Public Health degree with an emphasis in veterinary public health becomes the first fully online program of its kind nationwide.

The Department of Communication Science and Disorders becomes the Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences.


The school launches an interdisciplinary research-focused doctoral program in Health and Rehabilitation Science — the only program of its kind at a public institution in Missouri. Several new degree programs are approved, including the occupational therapy assistant major, and master’s degree in clinical and diagnostic sciences.

The Department of Occupational Therapy converts the Master of Occupational Therapy to the Occupational Therapy Doctorate.

The Department of Public Health is created, shared by the School of Health Professions and the College of Veterinary Medicine.

The newly restructured bachelor’s in Clinical and Diagnostic Sciences for diagnostic medical ultrasound becomes one of only five programs nationwide, and the only one in Missouri, to offer training in all ultrasound areas for undergraduate students.


School of Social Work faculty petition to join the School of Health Professions. Provost Latha Ramchand approves this change in November.


The School of Health Professions turns 20, with an enrollment of more than 3,300 students and 16,000 alumni worldwide.