Health and wellness department merges with dietetics and nutrition to benefit students

Maris Lambie, Staff Writer

This year, SUNY Buffalo State’s health and wellness department merged together with the dietetics and nutrition department.

The new department, now called ‘Health, Nutrition, and Dietetics,’ offers the same programs the two departments offered before the merge.

“It’s fabulous!” said Professor Carol DeNysschen, department chair.

Planning for the departments to join together took place throughout the past year.

“The faculty had lots of meetings,” DeNysschen said.

“Initially my dean brought it up, we kicked the idea around, a lot of it came from the new president,” said health and wellness professor Scott Roberts. “We supported the concepts, and down the road it will help strengthen the department. We’re going to benefit far greater than if we didn’t merge.”

“A lot of the things we offer are still the same. We are still separate entities,” said Roberts.

The programs include dietician education, didactic program in nutrition and dietetics, and health and wellness.

“When I first heard about the merger, I was not sure what to expect in regards to our curriculum or if this would mean there would be a change to the actual degree we were getting,” said Buffalo State student Racquel Praino, “In all honesty, nothing at all has changed for us students in the former dietetics or health and wellness departments; the classes we need are still the same, we are still getting the degrees which we came for and we still have the same wonderful professors as before.”

While things may not seem any different at a first glance, merging these departments together will bring more opportunities for students.

“The students will have more access to our faculty and more chances to join projects to get hands on experience,” DeNysschen said. “Students can be in one department and see the work from multiple programs. It makes sense.”

The opportunities include access to internships, and various student activities.

“Integrated learning with hands on opportunities, to me, reinforces what they are learning in class,” DeNysschen said. “Students will have access to more ICHP programs, and can get involved with health promotions.”

“The Weigel Health Center is trying to tie these together so students have more opportunities to do real work on campus. These can help students become more well rounded, especially for when they graduate.”

While there were some struggles with merging the departments, it seems as if there will be a positive outcome.

“I am hoping, as both departments collaborate, we will be able to interact with different students outside of the classroom,” Praino said. “We are all students who share wanting to make an impact bettering the health of others and now we will have more opportunities to put our heads together and gain new perspectives on causes we all care so much about.”

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