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 emphasized 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 to meet the community's needs.