Laura Walker Chung
The term “allied health” stems from the idea that physicians (i.e., medical doctors and dentists) are the primary source of health care in our society. Then there are a variety of professionals who “ally” with them to deliver comprehensive health care to patients. The MDs (and DOs, DMDs and DDSs) can’t do it alone, by any means. Within this general career area, this Vault guide focuses specifically on fields that are regulated and complementary to the MD, and that also treats physical ailments and involves direct work with patients.
A myth abounds that people go into “allied health care” careers because they couldn’t get into medical school. This is merely a myth; the reality is that a medical doctor of any type is an entirely different role than a naturopath, chiropractor, optometrist or any other allied health professional.
All patient-facing health care jobs are fundamentally service jobs. People who thrive in these “helping professions” often have strong feelings about the sacrificial nature of service and a commitment to quality patient care. If you’re a helpful, open-minded, inquisitive and compassionate person, chances are there are a number of health care professions within this guide that could make sense for you.