South Florida Hospital News
Sunday September 22, 2019
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May 2018 - Volume 14 - Issue 11

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Nutrition Degree Program Adds Luster to NSU-KPCOM Academic Offerings

Although the renowned D.O. program at Nova Southeastern University’s Dr. Kiran C. Patel College of Osteopathic (NSU-KPCOM) has been the college’s cornerstone since its establishment in 1979, the KPCOM also offers an array of undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs that span the health care spectrum.

The online Master of Science in Nutrition program, which is one of the newest additions to the NSU-KPCOM academic mix, welcomed its inaugural class in the fall of 2015 and recently celebrated its inaugural graduate. The creation of this distinctive degree program was inspired in response to the expanded emphasis in the United States on wellness and nutrition in professional practice, and the demand for skilled nutrition professionals.
 
“Nutrition assessment and nutrition intervention for chronic diseases are important components of the new health care reform mandates,” said Stephanie N. Petrosky, M.H.A., RDN, FAND, director of the nutrition program and graduate admissions. “The program was designed to further the education of those who want to integrate nutrition into other health professions and complement the academic preparation for entering the profession. The curriculum provides students from varied undergraduate disciplines, or from other graduate areas of study, with the knowledge and applicable skills related to the nutrition practice.”
 
The program’s 42-credit-hour program incorporates the latest technology and tools in distance learning through synchronous meetings and self-directed activities to maximize the student experience. All students receive a 15-credit-hour core in the fundamentals of nutrition and are required to complete a 6-credit-hour special project focused on an original individual or community-based research project, which involves the fundamentals of research and collecting data.
 
Because the nutrition field is a budding one in the United States, the career outlook for those earning degrees or certifications in the profession is extremely promising. The Master of Science in Nutrition degree, in particular, provides a strong educational foundation to work in a variety of professional roles at the mastery level of practice.
 
“Some of the settings where our students find jobs include hospitals, long-term care facilities, physician offices/private clinics, outpatient care centers, schools and universities, home health companies, corporations, athletic training centers or gyms, health departments, food production centers and plants, health care insurance companies, and private consulting businesses,” Petrosky said.
 
In addition to the M.S. in Nutrition degree, the college launched a Graduate Certificate in Functional Nutrition and Herbal Therapy, which provides professionals an option for advanced preparation in this evolving area of practice. The abridged program of 15 credits comprising 5 courses helps practicing health professionals understand the tenets of herbal and functional nutrition in a systems-based approach.
 
The certificate program’s innovative courses highlight functionality of body systems, etiology of diseases, toxic reactions of herbs, interactions with medications, herbal therapy for special populations, dietary approaches to imbalances in the body, and the roles of health care professionals in educating patients. Graduates will gain additional practice competencies and skills that can be incorporated into the care of their patients.
 
In her role as the nutrition program’s director, Petrosky has enjoyed watching its evolution from idea and inception to full-scale success. “It’s been quite a journey from only five years ago when the concept was just a conversation. Through the continued encouragement and support of NSU-KPCOM administration, we have shown quality results in a short period of time,” she said.
 
“We are currently riding a wave of rapid program enhancements to meet current student needs and future demands of the profession,” she added. “We believe we have the capacity, creativity, and courage to build a benchmark program. The next years will prove to be even more exciting as we infuse nutrition throughout the NSU community and beyond.”

To learn more about the NSU-KPCOM Master of Science in Nutrition program, contact Stephanie Petrosky at spetrosky@nova.edu or (954) 262-1597.

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