This book helps to prepare allied health professions for a new and different future by telling the story of their past – specifically, the sociological, economic, political and philosophical pressures that have shaped the professions. For most of the past half-century, the allied health professions have focused on creating legitimacy through the pursuit of research evidence and the standardisation of practice. Yet, there has been very little analysis or understanding of who the allied health professions are – either individually or collectively – how and why they have developed, and their role and relationship to the health system and other professions. This book helps to address this gap in order to give the allied health professions the tools they need to navigate the sociopolitical landscape of the future.
Many allied health professions have ancient origins; however, the concept of the collective of ‘allied health’ as a group of professions is only decades old. Allied health professions can make an important contribution to society; however, in many cases, that contribution is not fully realised because allied health is poorly understood and largely underutilised. Many allied health professions have only recently professionalised, and new professions continue to emerge. At the same time, changing population demographics, new technologies and a shift in emphasis towards the management and prevention of chronic illness create a constantly changing landscape for the health workforce. This means that allied health professions are having to develop and shape their identity in a dynamic landscape.
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