Loma Linda University's rich history of providing health care in the community began with the inception of the Schools of Medicine and Nursing in 1909. The need for quality health care expanded into the area of behavioral health in the mid-1950s, when Loma Linda University (then known as the College of Medical Evangelists) began to formally address the behavioral health needs of the community in an academic setting. Well ahead of its time, Loma Linda University established the Master of Arts in Family Life Education and the Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy in the autumn of 1954. The MFT program is now one of several degree programs housed in the Department of Counseling and Family Sciences.
During the mid-1970s, the university increased its emphasis on the importance of whole person care, focusing on a bio-psycho-social-spiritual approach to working with clients. The university subsequently expanded its behavioral health care programs to include the Department of Psychology and the Department of Social Work and Social Ecology in order to meet the needs of the community.
The mission of the School of Behavioral Health is "to provide a spiritually supportive context for teaching, clinical practice, and research innovation that pursues integrative behavioral health aimed at reducing health disparities and promoting social justice in a global context locally and globally."
This mission is underpinned by Loma Linda University's commitment to the teaching and healing ministry of Jesus Christ. Transformation of a student is seen as an integral part of the learning process which encourages the highest levels of scholarship, professionalism, and spiritual well-being. This pursuit encourages a greater understanding and promotion of healthy minds, families, communities, and social systems.
- Fosters the highest commitment to analytical and critical thinking
- Advocates the highest ethical and professional standards of practice and care
- Values the creation of new knowledge and the faithful transmission of best practices within professional and scientific disciplines
- Provides a learner-centered educational environment that facilitates the absorption of knowledge; perfection of skills, blending of evidence-based decision-making with transformative learning events ("teachable moments")
- Sustains a culture of service to all others (especially the underserved)
- Transforms lives through service and the pursuit of wisdom