The Association of Schools Advancing Health Professions (ASAHP) was chartered in Washington, D.C. in September 1967 as a not-for-profit national professional association for administrators, educators, and others who were concerned with critical issues affecting allied health education. The organization was established by the deans of thirteen university-based schools of allied health professions in response to an urgent need for an interdisciplinary and interagency association to relate to improving the quality and quantity of needed workforce in the health occupations and professions. The term allied health was popularized during the deliberations that led to the passage of the Allied Health Professions Personnel Training Act in 1967. The passage of this legislation brought about a new and radical concept of unifying all the various disciplines that comprise allied health into academic units with a single administration.
Thirteen Charter Institutions convened a series of meetings early in 1967 to develop the By-laws of the new organization and elected Darrel Mase, Ph.D., of the University of Florida, as the first president. The organization’s office was established in Washington, D.C. In November 1968. ASAHP held its first annual meeting in Miami Beach, Florida.
ASAHP was awarded a major five-year grant by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to support the establishment and growth of the organization. This was the first of several major, multi-year grants that subsequently were made to ASAHP Institutional Member schools by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to conduct Leadership Training and Development programs throughout the country. These grants helped secure ASAHP as an organization in the early days by supporting the establishment of new schools of allied health professions on university and community college campuses.
The first edition of the Association’s newsletter TRENDS was issued in March 1969. Publication of the Journal of Allied Health began in 1972. An electronic, biweekly UPDATE for Institutional Members was established in 1994. Online versions of TRENDS were made available in 2001 and the Journal of Allied Health went online in 2002.
Although ASAHP originally was intended to be an organization of university and college based-education units dedicated to the education of allied health professionals, the overwhelming response received from hospitals, clinical facilities, and professional societies to ASAHP as a unifying organization prompted the Executive Committee to undertake development of a plan for the reorganization of ASAHP as an organization representing the totality of allied health education and practice in the United States. The reorganization was endorsed by the membership and the name of the organization was officially changed to the American Society of Allied Health Professions in 1973. The new name preserved the ASAHP acronym, but the reorganization and shift in direction ultimately proved to be problematic for the Association, primarily due to conflicting interests between educators and practitioners. Throughout the 1980s, the membership of clinical facilities and professional organizations significantly diminished in size and the dominance of the university and college programs eventually resulted in changing the name of the organization back to the Association Of Schools of Allied Health Professions in 1991. As of 2017, ASAHP’s membership consists of 116 academic institutions and four professional associations. In 2019, the membership voted to change the name of the organization to the Association of Schools Advancing Health Professions (ASAHP).