The School of Behavioral Health has a long and rich history of providing needed services to a diverse population in the Inland Empire as well as throughout the world. In 1954, 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. The University understood the importance of ‘whole person care’ and early on emphasized addressing patient needs through the biopsychosocial-spiritual model. Well ahead of their time, the Master of Arts in Family Life Education and the Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy programs began in the autumn of 1954. The University set as a priority the expansion of behavioral health programs to meet the evolving needs of society.
In the 1990s, the University established an outpatient health clinic, the SAC Health System, where elements of behavioral health care are integrated into treatment. Subsequently, the University opened its own inpatient psychiatric hospital, the Behavioral Medicine Center—and, most recently, a freestanding outpatient mental health clinic, the Behavioral Health Institute, in 2010.
Initially created under the ‘Graduate School’, Loma Linda University’s behavioral health programs were grouped under a new School (the School of Science and Technology) in 2003, alongside the natural sciences. In 2011, the Loma Linda University Board of Trustees voted to transition these programs one more time, creating the disciplinarily cohesive School of Behavioral Health. The School now consists of three departments: Counseling & Family Sciences, Psychology, and Social Work & Social Ecology. Despite these reclassifications, the programs themselves have maintained a steady course of excellence in their respective fields, with dedicated and experienced faculty at the helm.
The mission of the School of Behavioral Health is to provide graduate-level education that prepares competent, ethical, and compassionate professionals who possess the knowledge, values, attitudes, and skills necessary for a life dedicated to whole person care in behavioral health practice, research, and leadership.
The School of Behavioral Health is singularly driven by this mission, academically incorporating Loma Linda University's commitment to the teaching and healing ministry of Jesus Christ, which produces wholeness within transformed lives. Transformation is a life-long learning process, one which is committed to the pursuit of the highest levels of scholarship, professionalism, and spiritual well-being. This pursuit seeks to promote healthy minds, families, communities, and social systems.