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Health Services Glossary  

Last Updated: Apr 9, 2014 URL: Print Guide Email Alerts
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Go Local Terms (Español: Glosario de los
Servicios Médicos

These easy-to-read definitions relate to the terms used in the NC Health Info Go Local database.

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z


Acupuncturists: Health care workers who treat pain and disease by putting needles into the body. Acupuncturists must be licensed in NC.

Adult Day Care: Places that care for adults while the person who normally cares for them cannot do so.

Alcohol Abuse Programs: Programs that help people and the families of people who drink too much.

Alexander Technique: A way of learning good posture and body movement to improve physical health.

Allergists: Doctors who treat people with allergies. Allergies are body reactions that happen when people are sensitive to certain substances.

Ambulatory Care Centers: Places that perform outpatient procedures. Outpatients do not need to stay overnight in a hospital.

Anesthesiologists: Doctors who provide drugs for pain during surgery or childbirth.

Aromatherapy: Using oils from plants and flowers to promote health and treat illness.

Art Therapy: Drawing, painting or sculpting to improve mental health.

Assisted Living Facilities: Places to live for older or disabled people who need help with cooking, cleaning and other services.

Audiologists: Health care workers who study hearing and treat hearing loss. Audiologists must be licensed in NC.

Ayurveda: This is a very old form of health care from India. It focuses on diet, herbal medicine, exercise and meditation.


Biofeedback Programs: A method of learning to control internal body functions. It can also be used to relearn to use damaged muscles.

Birth Centers: Places that pregnancy care and childbirth services.

Blood Banks: Places that collect, test and store blood for later use.

Breastfeeding Consultants: People who teach mothers how to feed babies from the breast.


Cancer Clinics: Places that provide medical care for cancer patients.

Cardiologists: Doctors who treat people with heart disorders.

Certified Nurse Midwives: Nurses who provide primary healthcare for women and who also provide medical care for women whose birth is considered uncomplicated.

Child Care Resource/Referral: Places to ask about child care facilities.

Childbirth Educators/Coaches: People who teach pregnant mothers how to give birth to a baby.

Chiropractors: Health care workers who treat disease by manipulating the spine. Chiropractors must be licensed in NC.

Clinical Social Workers: Mental health care workers who provide counseling, support and guidance. Clinical social workers must be licensed in NC.

Clinical Trials: Studies in which patients help test ways for treating illness.

Clinics: Places where people can get medical treatment.


Dance Therapy: Using dance to improve mental health.

Dentists: Doctors who treat problems of the teeth, jaws and areas of the mouth.

Dermatologists: Doctors who treat people with people with skin disorders.

Diabetes Educators: Health care workers who teach diabetes patients to manage their condition.

Dialysis Services: For kidney patients, this is the cleaning of blood.

Dietitians/Nutritionists: People trained to plan meals that have the right amounts of various kinds of food. Dietitians must be licensed; nutritionists may not be.

Disability Programs: Health services for people who are disabled.

Doulas: Women who are childbirth coaches.

Drug Abuse Treatment Centers/Programs: Places that help people who take drugs illegally or improperly.

DWI Counseling Services: Programs to help people who have been charged with drunk driving.


Ear/ Nose/Throat Specialists: Doctors who treat diseases of the ear, nose and throat.

Emergency Medical Services: Services for people who need urgent medical attention.

Endocrinologists: Doctors who treat diseases and disorders in the glands.

Exercise/Fitness Programs: Programs that help people stay healthy through physical fitness.


Faith Based Programs: Services provided by churches or religious groups.

Family Physicians: Doctors who treat people needing general medical care.

Family Planning Services: Places that help with birth control methods.

First Aid Instruction: Programs that teach how to help people in an accident or medical emergency.

Food Programs: Services that help people obtain food.


Gastroenterologists: Doctors who treat diseases and disorders in the stomach and intestines.

Genetic Counselors: Health care workers who advise future parents on possible birth defects.

Geriatric Care Managers: Health care workers who help plan for the needs of older people and their families.

Geriatricians: Doctors who treat diseases and conditions of older people.

Group Homes: Places to live for people who need care, assistance or supervision.

Gynecologists: Doctors who treat diseases and conditions of women and their sexual organs.


Health Care Equipment/Supplies: Health and medical products and supplies. Examples include walkers, oxygen tanks, wigs.

Health Education: Programs that teach healthy living or caring for sickness.

Health Forms: Papers that describe medical treatment. Patients must sign these papers to agree to the treatment described.

Health Insurance Programs: Financial aid for medical bills.

Health Screening: Testing for sickness or disease.

Health Statistics (NC): Data about health.

Hematologists: Doctors who treat blood diseases.

Herbal Medicine Services: Using plant and plant products to improve health.

Home Health Care Services: Health and medical services provided to people in their homes.

Hospice Care Services: Health care for people who are dying.

Hospitals: A place where the sick or injured are given medical or surgical care.

Hotlines/Crisis Services: A phone number people may call for information in an emergency.

Housing Assistance: Services that help people obtain or afford a place to live.

Humor Therapy: Using humor and laughter to improve mental health.

Hypnotherapy: Treatment of medical or physical disorders through hypnotism. Hypnotism is the process of putting into a sleeplike state.


Immunization Programs: Services that provide shots to prevent disease.

Immunologists: Doctors who specialize in the immune system. The immune system is the function of the body that defends against disease.

Infectious Disease Specialists: Doctors who treat diseases that can be spread from one person to another.

Infusion Therapy Services: Providing medicine or food through a needle in a vein.

Inspection Services: Checking health facilities and public places for cleanliness and safety.

Internists: Doctors who treat disorders of the internal body in adults. Patients go to an internists for specific problems or for checkups.


Libraries: A place where health information is collected and kept for use but not for sale.

Licensed Professional Counselors: Mental health workers who help people explore their feelings, thoughts and behaviors. Professional counselors must be licensed in NC.


Marriage/Family Therapists: Mental health workers who help people with family and relationship problems. Family therapists must be licensed in NC.

Massage/Bodywork Therapists: Specially trained health care workers who use massage therapy to promote health and healing. Massage therapy involves the touching, rubbing or kneading of muscles. Massage and bodywork therapists must be licensed in NC.

Meditation: A method of thinking deeply and at length in order to create a state of peace and relaxation.

Mental Health Clinics/Programs: Places where people can treatment for mental health problems.

Mental Health Professionals: Health care workers who help people with mental and emotional problems. These may include doctors and other specially trained professionals.

Midwives: People who assist women in childbirth.

Music Therapy: Using music to improve mental health.


Nephrologists: Doctors who treat diseases and disorders of the kidneys.

Neurological Surgeons: Doctors who perform operations on the brain, spinal cord and nerves.

Neurologists: Doctors who treat diseases and conditions of the brain, spinal cord and nerves.

Nurse Practitioners: Registered nurses with special training in primary health care. Nurse practitioners must be registered and approved in NC.

Nurses: Health care workers who, under a doctor's supervision, take care of sick or injured people. Nurses must be licensed in NC.

Nursing Home Facilities: Places to live that provide care usually for older people.


Obstetricians: Doctors who treat women before, in and after childbirth.

Occupational Therapists: Health care workers who help sick or disabled people recover, build up or maintain everyday skills. Occupational therapists must be licensed in NC.

Oncologists: Doctors who treat people with tumors.

Ophthalmologists: Doctors who treat eye diseases.

Opticians: People who make or sell eyeglasses and contact lenses. Opticians must be licensed in NC.

Optometrists: Health care workers who provide eye exams and prescribe eyeglasses. Must be licensed in NC.

Organ Donation Programs: Human organs (heart, kidney, liver, lung) obtained for transplant surgeries.

Organizations/Associations: Groups of people joined together for some purpose.

Oriental Medicine: A range of Chinese medical practices that includes use of herbs, acupuncture and massage.

Orthodontists: Dentists who deal with straightening and adjusting the teeth.

Orthopedists: Surgeons who deal with deformities and diseases of bones and joints.

Osteopaths: Doctors who treat disease by manipulating the bones and muscles. Must be licensed in NC.


Pain Clinics: Places where people can get medical treatment for pain.

Parish Nurses: Nurses who include religion in their care of patients.

Pastoral Counselors: Mental health professionals who use religious resources in their treatment.

Pathologists: Doctors who study the cause and nature of diseases.

Patient/Family Housing: Short-term places to live for families of hospital patients.

Pediatric Hospitals: Hospitals where children are given medical or surgical care.

Pediatricians: Doctors who specialize in the health of children, babies and teenagers. for children, babies and teenagers.

Personal Trainers: Exercise and fitness instructors.

Pet Assisted Therapy: Use of animals to improve mental health.

Pharmacies: Places where drugs and medicine are prepared or sold.

Physical Medicine/Rehabilitation Specialists: Doctors who use light, heat, cold and exercise to treat disease or injury.

Physical Rehabilitation Programs: Places that use light, heat, cold and exercise to treat disease or injury.

Physical Therapists: Health care workers who use methods like massage or electricity to treat disease and injury. Must be licensed in NC.

Physician Assistants: Physician assistants are licensed to provide medical care. Under a doctor's supervision, PAs perform exams, treat illness, order tests and write prescriptions.

Plastic Surgeons: Doctors who improve the appearance of outer body parts through surgery.

Podiatrists: Doctors who treat ailments of the foot.

Poison Control: Places that provide telephone advice for treating poisoning emergencies.

Pregnancy Termination Services: Medical facilities that perform abortions.

Prescription Programs: Financial aid for prescription drugs and medicine.

Psychiatric Hospitals: Hospitals that provide care for mentally ill patients.

Psychiatrists: Doctors who treat mental and emotional disorders, sometimes with prescription drugs.

Psychologists: Health professionals who counsel people with mental or emotional problems.

Public Health Services: Organized efforts to improve the health of the community.

Pulmonologists: Doctors who treat diseases and conditions of the lungs.


Radiologists: Doctors who use X-rays and other images of the body's insides to diagnose conditions and treat disease.

Recreational Therapists: Health care workers who use exercise, sports and other activities in treating illness.

Referral Services: Organizations that direct people to health and medical resources.

Research Centers: Places that conduct medical research.

Respiratory Therapists: Health professionals who provide treatment for breathing problems. Must be licensed in NC.

Respite Care Services: Respite care is the temporary care of a sick person who needs constant attention. Respite care provides time off to the usual caretaker.

Retirement Facilities: A planned community for residents who have retired from an active working life.

Rheumatologists: Doctors who treat diseases of the body's joints, bones and muscles.


Senior Centers: Places for older people to socialize.

Sex Therapists: Mental health professionals who help people with their thoughts and emotions about sex. Must be licensed in NC.

Sheltered Workshops: A workplace that offers jobs to the disabled.

Shelters: Temporary places to live for the homeless, abuse victims or others in need.

Smoking Cessation Programs: Help for people who want to stop smoking.

Social Services: Efforts to improve the condition of people in need.

Speech Therapists: Health professionals who treat speech problems, such as stuttering and lisping.

Sport Psychologists: Mental health professionals who help people with their athletic performance.

Support Groups: Groups of people who provide emotional and moral support for one another.

Surgeons: Doctors who perform operations.


Therapeutic Camps: Camps that provide outdoor activities for sick or disabled children.

Thoracic Surgeons: Surgeons who treat conditions of the chest, heart and lungs.

Transportation Services: Driving people to their medical appointments. (Not in emergencies.)


Urologists: Doctors who treat urinary problems and disorders in the male sex organs.


Vascular Surgeons: Surgeons who treat conditions of the blood vessels.


Waste Management Services: Managing the safe removal of liquid and solid waste.

Weight Management Programs: Services that help people to maintain a healthy body weight through proper diet and exercise.


Yoga: A type of exercise that promotes control of the body and mind.

These definitions compiled by the Health Sciences Library, UNC-Chapel Hill.


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