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Dean of the School of Health Sciences & Education's Lifelong Connection with NYCC and Learning

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Dr. Peter Nickless headshot

Meet Dr. Peter Nickless
Dean of Online Education

When he was just 16 years old, Dr. Peter Nickless took his first tour of the New York Chiropractic College campus, now Northeast College of Health Sciences. His mother was an adjunct professor and he remembers gravitating to the anatomy lab and being treated for his high school football injuries at the Health Center.

"It was all impressive to me," said Nickless, who became an NYCC doctor of chiropractic graduate in 2000. Twelve years later he joined the faculty as program director for the online Master of Science in Applied Clinical Nutrition (MSACN) program. Prior, Nickless owned a chiropractic and nutrition practice in Maine while working at Kaplan University as chair of the Health Sciences Department.

"People are really starting to understand how important nutrition is to our overall health and wellness," said Nickless. "However, nutrition has always been an essential part of the chiropractic regimen. Chronic inflammation (from poor nutrition and bad eating habits) can reduce the effectiveness of what we do as chiropractors; that's why nutrition and chiropractic work so well together."

True to Northeast's values, Dr. Nickless is still learning. In addition to being an online educator for more than 10 years, he has also earned three master's degrees (human nutrition, operations and project management, business administration) as well as his Ph.D. from Rutgers University in 2020.

Online Learning, #NortheastBlue and Nutrition According to Dr. Peter Nickless 

What sets Northeast's nutrition program apart from others?

In addition to being evidence-based and patient-centered, our MSACN program takes a whole-foods approach to nutrition. People eat food, not nutrients, so our emphasis is on food first, supplements second. Nutrients have a synergistic effect when combined in foods and eaten together. That's why we talk about diet first.

How does the MSACN program set students up for success as clinical nutritionists?

There are two main reasons: 1.) Students of Northeast's MSACN learn the application of whole- foods nutrition for patient / client benefit. 2.) The whole-foods, holistic approach of the program easily integrates with other healthcare practitioners.

As an online educator, what do you see as the benefits of online education?

The good thing for us is that our terms are laid out; in effect our studies are unaffected by snow days and pandemics. Even in the disruption of the past year (with the COVID-19 health crisis), we were set up and ready to go when other courses were still transitioning online.

What's your advice for successful online learning?

Make sure you stay connected. Having a clearly defined plan and regimen is the key. I have a virtual open door policy and offer phone and Skype sessions wherever I am.

Can you describe the #NortheastBlue community for us?

These students are engaged and passionate. They want to talk about health and wellness. Even when they are done with class they are asking for more because they love what they do. The same is true for our professors. They are so dedicated to our College and the subject they are teaching. No one is just assigned to a class here. It's probably why our faculty retention rate is so high. I've been here for eight years and most of my colleagues have been here for 10-plus years.

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