Founded in 1911, Southern California University of Health Sciences (SCU) has been a leader in educating students to be competent and caring integrative healthcare practitioners for over 100 years. SCU is a private, non-profit institution.
SCU has a history of providing the highest levels of patient care and has gained a reputation for excellence in an evidence-informed curriculum. SCU is the best place to prepare for a successful, significant, and rewarding career.
The Southern California University of Health Sciences (SCU) Viewbook, available here for online viewing, or downloading, highlights the SCU experience, the success of our graduates, and our growing portfolio of academic programs.
SCU’s rigorous programs lead to tremendous success for our graduates, who gain the knowledge and experience needed to be practice-ready through a combination of SCU’s industry-leading faculty, innovative course design, and exceptional clinical experiences.
While at SCU, students from all programs come together for core science classes giving them an appreciation for other types of medical professions. Once they leave SCU, they are thoroughly prepared to thrive in an ever-changing inter-professional healthcare delivery system.
Watch this short video filmed at New Student Orientation presented by:
John Scaringe, DC, EdD
President / CEO,
Southern California University of Health Sciences
SCU is a premier academic institution that has been preparing students to become compassionate, effective professionals for more than 100 years. At SCU, you’ll learn how to excel in a team-based healthcare environment that has become the model of quality and efficiency in today’s healthcare delivery systems.
SCU provides immersive coursework, expert faculty, and state-of-the-art facilities to put students on the path to success. From the classroom to the clinic, SCU emphasizes patient-centered care and integrative medicine and health. No other university offers this kind of holistic, multidisciplinary setting.
As an SCU student, you’ll be empowered to become the healer you long to be. Through unique hands-on learning opportunities, you will develop the essential knowledge and skills to treat the whole person using current theories and evidence-based practice.
With over 20-year accreditation by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC), SCU offers reputable programs that meet rigorous standards. In addition, SCU has continued to innovate and expand its offerings to help students excel in a rapidly shifting healthcare landscape.
Our campus is located at 16200 Amber Valley Dr. Whittier, CA 90604 (view map and directions)
A horseless carriage (one of the few) “sped” down mud and brick roads. A pioneer fervor dominated the thinking of progressive civic leaders. Los Angeles, “The City of the Angels,” was a bustling city of 319,000 inhabitants. Movies were still in their infancy, still silent.
In this milieu, Dr. Charles Cale and his wife, Linnie, committed themselves to disseminate the knowledge of a little known, yet ancient, healing art chiropractic. Dr. Cale sought to formalize the training of chiropractic physicians.
By 1911, when modern chiropractic was only 16 years into its history, Dr. Cale applied for and received a charter for Los Angeles College of Chiropractic (LACC). The Cales began the first classes in their home, a nine-month course of study that included anatomy, chiropractic principles and technique.
Eleven years later, the College moved to larger and more modern facilities. The curriculum covered 18 months of study. During this period, it absorbed the Eclectic College of Chiropractic, a progressive, yet fledgling, school with a five-year history.
The Chiropractic Initiative Act of 1922 established legal requirements for chiropractic education, California licensure guidelines and the first board of chiropractic examiners. All of this served as the catalyst for enhanced academic programs and accelerated growth at LACC.
The next 28 years were marked with continued curricular improvements and material expansion. During that time, LACC acquired many institutions, including Golden State College of Chiropractic; Dr. Cale’s second school, Cale Chiropractic College; College of Chiropractic Physicians and Surgeons; Southern California College of Chiropractic; Hollywood College of Chiropractic; California College of Chiropractic and the California College of Natural Healing Arts.
The course of study was extended to 32 months. In the late 1940s, a nonprofit corporation, the California Chiropractic Educational Foundation (CCEF) was organized. It acquired several colleges, including LACC. As a holding company, CCEF created a new chiropractic college and retained the name Los Angeles College of Chiropractic. By 1950, the course of study had expanded to four years and the College moved to Glendale, California, consolidating its basic science subjects and chiropractic sciences into one comprehensive curriculum taught in one modern facility.
In the late 1970s, the Board of Regents moved the institution in a bold, new direction. Determined to assure the stability of a progressive chiropractic college, it sought professional educational administrators to develop academic planning, facility usage and economic independence. In three years, the Board had succeeded in creating one of the most responsive and responsible institutions in chiropractic education.
In November of 1981, LACC realized a dream-come-true when it purchased a new 38-acre campus in Whittier, California. The site provided room to expand and make way for increased enrollment, expanded curriculum and the development of health care services to the surrounding community. The addition of the innovative and progressive ADVANTAGE Program in September of 1990 placed LACC at the forefront of chiropractic education.
In this same decade, LACC became the first chiropractic program to obtain accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and was one of the first chiropractic institutions to obtain federal grant money for research.
The end of the 20th Century brought a major change to what had been LACC for the past 89 years. The College of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (CAOM) was added and the Southern California University of Health Sciences (SCU) was created to house both LACC and CAOM. This marked a turning point from an institution offering a single program to a multi-program university with plans of offering additional programs in what society has labeled alternative health sciences.
In 2020, the university continued to grow adding two new masters programs; Master of Science in Medical Science and a Master of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine. In addition, the university was restructured to include LACC, Accelerated Sciences Division, Eastern Medicine Department, Ayurveda Department, IPE Department, Physician Assistant Program, and Health Science Program.
A detailed account of the 100 years of the institution and its personalities can be found in “Healing Evolved: A 100 Year History of Los Angeles College of Chiropractic & Southern California University of Health Sciences,” by former SCU President Reed Phillips. The book is available for purchase in the SCU Campus Store.
Healthcare and higher education are two industries at a crossroads. The U.S. healthcare industry is facing ever-escalating costs, chronic disease in more than half its population, and provider burnout. At the same time, higher education is facing its own set of challenges, with many institutions merging or closing altogether. As a provider of healthcare education, Southern California University of Health Sciences (SCU) must navigate rapidly evolving landscapes in two dynamic industries. We see this position as a valuable opportunity to advance our unique mission to educate successful integrative, whole-person healthcare providers.
In order to thrive at the intersection of healthcare and education, we must take a strategic approach to developing our institution and our people to become an industry leader. It requires a strategic direction that is both compelling and attainable. As we celebrate our history and successes, we must look ahead to determine how best to embody the future of integrative, whole-person health.
The Southern California University of Health Sciences (SCU) Strategic Plan to 2029, available here for online viewing, or downloading, highlights our strategic approach to developing our institution and our people to become an industry leader.
Our mission is to educate students as competent, caring, and successful integrative healthcare practitioners and professionals. The University is committed to providing an academic community imbued with kindness, integrity, humor, and determination.
To transform and redefine health and healthcare education.
SCU’s four values are described below, as well as sample aspirational statements reflective of how these values might look in action. SCU strives to live our four values of Integrative Health, Evidence-Based Practice, Health Equity, and Inclusivity.
Southern California University of Health Sciences (SCU) is committed to maintaining a community of students and employees that reflect, embrace, and value the breadth of diversity including, but not limited to, age, race, ethnicity, culture, socioeconomic status, spiritual and religious belief, sex, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, disability, and geographic background, consistent with our core value of Inclusivity.
SCU’s Vision is to transform and redefine health and healthcare education. Our mission is, in part, to educate students as competent, interprofessional and evidence-based trained, caring, culturally proficient healthcare professionals dedicated to integrative and whole-person care. As reflected by the SCU value of Health Equity, we value people’s health equally and want all individuals and communities to have a fair and just opportunity to be healthy. Therefore, we empower our students to impact determinants of health and reduce health disparities.
Our focus on inclusivity and cultural proficiency supports the need to attract and retain diverse students and employees. This focus also cultivates medical practitioners equipped to serve a complex, evolving, and diverse populace, including those most vulnerable.
We work collectively to identify and remove obstacles to the recruitment, retention, and advancement of students, faculty, and staff, including those from historically underrepresented populations to maintain a community where people choose to grow, develop, and excel.
It is our belief that inclusivity broadens perspective in reasoning, leading to innovative solutions and greater equity in our care. This provides SCU with a competitive advantage and solidifies our reputation as one leading the charge in health science education, patient care, and health equity.
We appreciate your interest and consider it a privilege to participate in fulfilling your educational goals. As President, I have the privilege of serving the university and leading the academic mission of one of the richest learning environments of alternative and integrative healthcare on any campus in the nation. It is a responsibility that I accept with great pride and humility.
I am proud to say that SCU offers outstanding graduate education in the healing arts. The academic programs are backed by excellent and dedicated faculty, an outstanding learning resource network, and a strong academic support system. We offer a variety of health science programs including the Doctor of Chiropractic, Doctor of Occupational Therapy, Doctor of Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine, Master of Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine, Master of Science in Medical Science, Master of Science in Human Genetics and Genomics, Master of Science: Physician Assistant, Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences, a variety of certificate programs, and our postgraduate residency programs in chiropractic sports medicine and many more are second to none.
Since 1911, we have been dedicated to the highest levels of patient care and have gained a reputation for excellence in science-based education. We provide students with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to meet the many challenges of the changing healthcare environment. We welcome you to this historically rich community of scholars and wish you the best in achieving your educational and professional goals.
Again, welcome! I encourage you to learn more about how SCU can contribute to your success as a healthcare practitioner.
John Scaringe, DC, EdD
Dr. John Scaringe assumed the role of President for the Southern California University of Health Sciences (SCU) in May 2010, marking the culmination of a distinguished career dedicated to chiropractic education and healthcare leadership. His journey at SCU began in 1991 when he joined the faculty of the Los Angeles College of Chiropractic (LACC). Over the years, he ascended through various roles, showcasing his commitment to excellence and innovation in healthcare education.
Starting as a faculty member, Dr. Scaringe's journey at LACC saw him take on pivotal roles, including Chair of the Chiropractic Procedures Department and the Department of Diagnosis. His leadership skills were further demonstrated when he directed the University Health Center in Whittier, then the largest outpatient care facility at SCU. In 2001, he assumed the role of Dean of Clinical Education, and by 2005, he was appointed Dean of the Los Angeles College of Chiropractic. His remarkable journey continued, and in 2007, he became the Vice President for Academic Affairs.
A published author and influential figure in the field, Dr. Scaringe has contributed significantly to chiropractic literature. Serving as the Associate Editor for the Journal of Sports Chiropractic and Rehabilitation and participating on the editorial advisory board of Manual Therapy, he has actively shaped the discourse in the academic and clinical aspects of sports medicine and manual care.
Beyond academia, Dr. Scaringe has built a reputation in change management, leveraging over 25 years of teaching experience and private practice. His expertise extends to academic leadership, and he is a sought-after lecturer on emerging trends in healthcare education.
Dr. Scaringe's commitment to excellence is evident in his involvement in higher education accreditation. He served on and chaired numerous regional and professional evaluation teams, holding the position of Commissioner for the Northwest Commission for Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) for two terms. His eight-year tenure on the Council for Chiropractic Education (CCE) further attested to his dedication to maintaining high standards in education.
Educationally, Dr. Scaringe holds an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from California State University, Long Beach, a Master’s of Science in Kinesiology from California State University, Fullerton, and a Doctor of Chiropractic degree from Northeast College of Health Sciences (formally New York Chiropractic College).
In his personal life, Dr. Scaringe is married to Christine, and together, they have two accomplished daughters, Danielle and Gabriella. As President of SCU, Dr. Scaringe continues to steer the institution toward new heights, fostering excellence in whole-person integrative healthcare education and leadership.
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