HEALTH PROFESSION DEFINITIONS




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Allopathic Medicine

Allopathic medicine is an expression commonly used by homeopaths and proponents of other forms of alternative medicine to refer to mainstream medical use of pharmacologically active agents or physical interventions to treat or suppress symptoms or pathophysiologic processes of diseases or conditions." The expression was coined in 1810 by the creator of homeopathy, Samuel Hahnemann (1755-1843). Never accepted as a mainstream scientific term, it was adopted by alternative medicine advocates to refer pejoratively to mainstream medicine. In such circles, the expression "allopathic medicine" is still used to refer to "the broad category of medical practice that is sometimes called Western medicine, biomedicine, evidence-based medicine, or modern medicine.

Wikipedia contributors. Allopathic medicine. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. June 26, 2013, 02:23 UTC. Available at: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Allopathic_medicine&oldid=561609909. Accessed July 15, 2013.


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Chiropractic

Chiropractic is a health care profession that focuses on disorders of the musculoskeletal system and the nervous system, and the effects of these disorders on general health. Chiropractic care is used most often to treat neuromusculoskeletal complaints, including but not limited to back pain, neck pain, pain in the joints of the arms or legs, and headaches.

American Chiropractic Association. Available at: http://www.acatoday.org/level1_css.cfm?T1ID=42. Accessed July 15, 2013.


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Dentistry

The evaluation, diagnosis, prevention and/or treatment (nonsurgical, surgical or related procedures) of diseases, disorders and/or conditions of the oral cavity, maxillofacial area and/or the adjacent and associated structures and their impact on the human body; provided by a dentist, within the scope of his/her education, training and experience, in accordance with the ethics of the profession and applicable law.

American Dental Association. Available at: http://www.ada.org/glossaryforprofessionals.aspx. Accessed July 15, 2013.


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Nursing

Nursing is the protection, promotion, and optimization of health and abilities, prevention of illness and injury, alleviation of suffering through the diagnosis and treatment of human response, and advocacy in the care of individuals, families, communities, and populations.

Nursing World. American Nurses Association. Available at: http://www.nursingworld.org/EspeciallyForYou/What-is-Nursing. Accessed July 15, 2013.


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Nurse Practitioner

Nurse practitioners (NPs) are licensed, independent practitioners who practice in ambulatory, acute and long-term care as primary and/or specialty care providers. According to their practice specialties, they provide nursing and medical services to individuals, families and groups. In addition to diagnosing and managing acute episodic and chronic illnesses, NPs emphasize health promotion and disease prevention. Services include, but are not limited to: ordering, conducting, supervising, and interpreting diagnostic and laboratory tests; and prescription of pharmacologic agents and non-pharmacologic therapies. Teaching and counseling individuals, families and groups are major parts of NP practice.

American Association of Nurse Practitioners. Available at: http://www.aanp.org/images/documents/publications/scopeofpractice.pdf. Accessed July 15, 2013.


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Occupational Therapist

In its simplest terms, occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants help people across the lifespan participate in the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of everyday activities (occupations). Common occupational therapy interventions include helping children with disabilities to participate fully in school and social situations, helping people recovering from injury to regain skills, and providing supports for older adults experiencing physical and cognitive changes.

The American Occupational Therapy Association. Available at: http://www.aota.org/Consumers.aspx. Accessed July 15, 2013.


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Optometry

Doctors of optometry (ODs) are the independent primary health care professionals for the eye. Optometrists examine, diagnose, treat, and manage diseases, injuries, and disorders of the visual system, the eye, and associated structures as well as identify related systemic conditions affecting the eye.

American Optometric Association. Available at: http://newsfromaoa.org/2012/09/21/aoa-board-approves-updated-definition-of-optometry/. Accessed July 15, 2013.


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Osteopathic Medicine

Osteopathic medicine is a distinct form of medical practice in the United States. Osteopathic medicine provides all of the benefits of modern medicine including prescription drugs, surgery, and the use of technology to diagnose disease and evaluate injury. It also offers the added benefit of hands-on diagnosis and treatment through a system of therapy known as osteopathic manipulative medicine. Osteopathic medicine emphasizes helping each person achieve a high level of wellness by focusing on health promotion and disease prevention.

American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine. Available at: http://www.aacom.org/about/osteomed/Pages/default.aspx. Accessed July 15, 2013.


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Pharmacology

Pharmacology is the branch of medicine and biology concerned with the study of drug action, where a drug can be broadly defined as any man-made, natural, or endogenous (within the body) molecule which exerts a biochemical and/or physiological effect on the cell, tissue, organ, or organism. More specifically, it is the study of the interactions that occur between a living organism and chemicals that affect normal or abnormal biochemical function. If substances have medicinal properties, they are considered pharmaceuticals.

Wikipedia contributors. Pharmacology. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. July 3, 2013, 08:35 UTC. Available at: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Pharmacology&oldid=562664066. Accessed July 15, 2013.


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Pharmacy

Pharmacy is the health profession that links the health sciences with the chemical sciences and it is charged with ensuring the safe and effective use of pharmaceutical drugs. The scope of pharmacy practice includes more traditional roles such as compounding and dispensing medications, and it also includes more modern services related to health care, including clinical services, reviewing medications for safety and efficacy, and providing drug information. Pharmacists, therefore, are the experts on drug therapy and are the primary health professionals who optimize medication use to provide patients with positive health outcomes.

Wikipedia contributors. Pharmacy. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. July 12, 2013, 16:50 UTC. Available at: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Pharmacy&oldid=563986024. Accessed July 15, 2013.


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Physical Therapist

A Physical Therapist is a health care profession primarily concerned with the remediation of impairments and disabilities and the promotion of mobility, functional ability, quality of life and movement potential through examination, evaluation, diagnosis and physical intervention carried out by physical therapists (known as physiotherapists in most countries) and physical therapist assistants (known as physical rehabilitation therapists or physiotherapy assistants in some countries).

Wikipedia contributors. Physical therapy. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. July 13, 2013, 10:21 UTC. Available at: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Physical_therapy&oldid=564086673. Accessed July 15, 2013.


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Physician Assistant

A physician assistant (PA), is a healthcare professional who is licensed to practice medicine as part of a team with physicians. Physician assistants are concerned with preventing and treating human illness and injury by providing a broad range of health care services under the direction of a physician or surgeon. Physician assistants conduct physical exams, diagnose and treat illnesses, order and interpret tests, prescribe medications, counsel on preventive health care and may assist in surgery.

Wikipedia contributors. Physician assistant. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. July 11, 2013, 18:46 UTC. Available at: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Physician_assistant&oldid=563852015. Accessed July 15, 2013.


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Podiatric Medicine

Doctors of Podiatric Medicine (DPMs) strive to improve the overall health of their patients by focusing on preventing, diagnosing, and treating conditions associated with the foot and ankle. They treat a variety of conditions and employ innovative treatments to improve the well-being of their patients.

American Association of Colleges of Podiatric Medicine. Available at: http://www.aacom.org/about/osteomed/Pages/default.aspx. Accessed July 15, 2013.


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Speech-Language Pathology

Speech-language pathology professionals (speech-language pathologists (SLPs), or informally speech therapists) specialize in communication disorders as well as swallowing disorders. The main components of speech production include: phonation, the process of sound production; resonance; intonation, the variation of pitch; and voice, including aeromechanical components of respiration. The main components of language include: phonology, the manipulation of sound according to the rules of the language; morphology, the understanding and use of the minimal units of meaning; syntax, the grammar rules for constructing sentences in language; semantics, the interpretation of meaning from the signs or symbols of communication; and pragmatics, the social aspects of communication.

Wikipedia contributors. Speech-language pathology. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. July 12, 2013, 17:29 UTC. Available at: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Speech-language_pathology&oldid=563991210. Accessed July 15, 2013.


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Veterinary Medicine

Veterinary medicine is the branch of science that deals with the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease, disorder and injury in animals. The scope of veterinary medicine is wide, covering all animal species, both domesticated and wild, with a wide range of conditions which can affect different species.

Wikipedia contributors. Veterinary medicine. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. June 10, 2013, 14:07 UTC. Available at: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Veterinary_medicine&oldid=559232603. Accessed July 15, 2013.



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