NYIT faculty members are cooking up a nutritional and educational boost for health profession students.
With the help of a $50,000 grant, engineering and health experts plan to launch an interactive, Web-based nutrition course for students at the School of Health Professions. Enhancing Nutrition Taught in Clinical Education, or ENTICE, will include 27 in-depth units covering nutrition topics related to various diseases, along with special units on women's health and sports nutrition.
"Nutrition is something that unites all of the health professions," said Associate Professor Corri Wolf, PA, the project's director and a registered dietician. "No matter what area you work in—as a physician assistant, physical therapist, occupational therapist, or nurse—your patient's health and recovery is impacted by nutrition. Patients will seek nutrition advice from their health care providers and it is crucial that they are knowledgeable about it."
Wolf said most health professions curricula do not include dedicated nutrition courses, mostly because there is a lack of time or experienced faculty. Wolf and colleagues from NYIT's physician assistant studies, physical therapy, and clinical nutrition programs are developing the content for a course that can be used outside of or as part of an existing class.
"This program will fill the gap and ensure that patients receive the best care possible," she said.
School of Engineering and Computing Sciences Associate Professor Hossein Kashani and Justin Chua, an advertising major in the College of Arts and Sciences, are providing computer programming and Web design services for the project.
"We are using MOOC technology," said Kashani, referring to Massive Online Open Courses available to the public. "We're using the latest tools to create very pleasant graphics and to intelligently present the info—and making it fun by including games."
Chua, a student at NYIT's Manhattan campus, is working on the interactive slides, which include quizzes before and after each unit, checkpoint questions, and "drag and drop" features in the course that allow students to select images to answer questions.
"I love technology and never did anything like this before so it is exciting for me," said Chua."
Wolf and the NYIT team won a grant last fall from the Allen Foundation, which funds nutrition programs in health, education, training, and research.
Kashani became involved after meeting the health faculty members at an interdisciplinary networking event. Informal conversations led to in-depth discussions about a joint project.
"It's so nice to go to other schools and work with other people outside your discipline and find common ground," Kashani said. "It gives you a different perspective."
The team expects the course will be available to NYIT students next fall.