History of Health and Human Sciences
In just over a decade, the College of Health and Human Sciences (HHS) has transformed from a bold idea to a cornerstone of Purdue University. Realigning nine academic units from across the University — each with their own rich histories — the formation of Purdue HHS in 2010 was the result of persistent effort, strong leadership and widespread cooperation to create a university entity unlike any other college of pharmacy, nursing and health sciences. Led by inaugural dean Christine Ladisch, HHS quickly became a contender to be one of the largest colleges at Purdue and offered new collaboration and research opportunities to study human health and well-being across all stages of the life span.
Departments and schools
Health and Kinesiology (HK)
While its current structure only dates back to 1976, the Department of Health and Kinesiology (HK) is grounded in campus developments in the early 1900s when a department of physical education was created. The pioneering Department of Health and Kinesiology was the first in the country to receive accreditation for a formal curriculum in athletic training and created the country’s first degree in movement and sport sciences, shifting the focus to the science of human movement. In 2010, it joined the newly formed College of Health and Human Sciences.
Health Sciences (HSCI)
The School of Health Sciences (HSCI) began with a few particles in a Purdue University lab and has since expanded into a leader in cutting-edge health research. The School of Health Sciences was formed in 1979 with Professor John Christian, who discovered the first applications of radioactive isotopes in the pharmaceutical sciences, as the school’s head. Throughout the years, the school’s programs and enrollment grew to offer more opportunities for students pursuing both graduate and undergraduate degrees, and in 2010, the School of Health Sciences moved out of the College of Pharmacy, Nursing and Health Sciences and into the newly formed College of Health and Human Sciences.
Hospitality and Tourism Management (HTM)
The White Lodging-J.W. Marriott, Jr. School of Hospitality and Tourism Management (HTM) got its start in 1887 in the School of Science as a series of Domestic Economy courses, which later became the Department of Institutional Management. From there, the hospitality and tourism programs took off, adding “Tea Room” services in 1954 and merchandising, selling and lodging classes in 1960. In 2010, HTM joined the newly formed College of Health and Human Sciences. Later, in 2019, the Purdue University Board of Trustees approved to change the Department of Consumer Science into the Division of Consumer Science within HTM.
In 2021, the school was named in honor of White Lodging’s founder and CEO, Bruce White, and his family for their longstanding financial and in-kind support of Purdue University. At the request of Mr. White, the school’s name also honors the career and contributions of J.W. “Bill” Marriott, Jr., executive chairman and chairman of the board of Marriott International.
Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS)
The Department of Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS) took root in child management and family living courses that first appeared in the Department of Household Economics in the early 1920s. When Purdue established the first university-based nursery school in the state in 1926, the foundation was set for a department focused on children, families and their relationships. In 1946, Purdue established the Department of Family Life, and in 2011, after joining the College of Health and Human Sciences the year prior, the department was renamed Human Development and Family Studies to better reflect its mission and vision.
In the 1950s, there was a dire need for nurses in Indiana, and Purdue fulfilled the need by developing a nursing program, which enrolled its first class of 30 students in the two-year associate degree program in fall 1963. The nursing program was directed by Helen R. Johnson, a registered nurse with a strong administrative background, who led the development and growth of Purdue’s nursing program. The School of Nursing was established in 1979 by the Purdue Board of Trustees in recognition of the program’s strength as the number of nursing students continued to rise, and in 2010, the School of Nursing became part of the newly created College of Health and Human Sciences.
Nutrition Science (NUTR)
The Department of Nutrition Science (NUTR) has been a foundational ingredient in Purdue’s history as early as 1905 when the Department of Household Economics was established, containing the first dietetics and nutrition program in the state. The department began to make significant strides in research in the 1940s, and innovative research continued to be a core element in the department as the Ingestive Behavior Research Center (IBRC) was established in 2005. In 2010, the Department of Foods and Nutrition joined the new College of Health and Human Sciences, and in 2011, it was renamed the Department of Nutrition Science.
Psychological Sciences (PSY)
The Department of Psychological Sciences (PSY) got its start in 1908 when the first psychology courses were taught in Purdue University’s Department of Education. The Division of Education and Applied Psychology was developed in 1937, and afterward, Purdue became “the hub of industrial psychology,” developing one of the most renowned PhD programs in industrial psychology in the world. The division became the Department of Psychology in 1954. Then, in 2010, the renamed Department of Psychological Sciences joined the newly created College of Health and Human Sciences.
Public Health (PUBH)
Although Public Health is the newest department in the College of Health and Human Sciences, its history goes back to its original home in the Department of Health and Kinesiology. The start of the College of Health and Human Sciences in 2010 led to discussions of the need for Purdue University to address the critical needs of public health, so the college developed the Public Health Graduate Program in 2014. In 2019, the Purdue University Board of Trustees approved the establishment of a new Department of Public Health, which became home to the undergraduate public health program as well as the college’s Public Health Graduate Program.
Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences (SLHS)
The Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences (SLHS) got its start with Purdue’s speech and hearing clinic in 1935, which was the first university or college clinic founded in Indiana. The Department of Audiology and Speech Science was created within the School of Humanities, Social Science and Education in 1963 with Max Steer as department head. The department was later renamed the Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences and joined the newly formed College of Health and Human Sciences in 2010, moving to its home in Lyles-Porter Hall in 2014. Read more of the department’s history here.