Open SUNY Online Teaching Ambassador 2019: Stony Brook – Leah Holbrook
Leah Holbrook is a Registered Dietitian with a Master’s degree in Health Care Policy and Management from Stony Brook University. She is a Clinical Instructor in the Department of Family, Population and Preventive Medicine at Stony Brook Medicine and Assistant Director for the Graduate Nutrition Program. Prior to co-developing the fully online MS nutrition program, Ms. Holbrook coordinated The LI Center for Pediatric Obesity Prevention. This NYSDOH grant-funded program addressed the rising obesity rates among women of childbearing age, pregnant women and infants by working with child care providers and health care providers to improve practices and policies. She has been teaching online since 2009, developing and teaching courses in maternal and child nutrition, sustainable food systems and health and nutrition policy.
Since the inception of the graduate program in 2012, program growth has allowed for exciting expansions including three areas of concentration which allow students to individualize their course of study. Ms. Holbrook sits on Stony Brook’s Committee for Online Education, as well as Stony Brook’s Dietetic Internship Advisory Board.
“The opportunity to co-develop an online degree program and continue to nurture its growth has been a professional highpoint. While online learning certainly affords some the chance to pursue higher education who may not otherwise be able to do so, it also offers additional benefits beyond just the flexible format. Students have the opportunity to pace themselves with the material provided, pause when needed, and even return to narrated material if necessary. The exchange of ideas in various forms (A/V, discussion, etc.) requires strengthening communication skills at every level and allows students to engage in conversation easily and thoughtfully. Online teaching has presented welcome challenges as I strive to keep on top of all of the useful tools available to ultimately provide students with the most effective and engaging experience possible. Teaching in a health sciences center has also made it possible to bring the critical topic of nutrition to a variety of health care students – ultimately improving the quality of care that patients receive. The online format means that students who are in the clinical aspect of their education do not have to miss learning opportunities just because they are off-site. Lastly, with the dietetics profession moving toward the graduate degree as the terminal degree for professional practice, our online program is well-positioned to continue to offer nutrition professionals the ability to complete their education while enjoying the freedom to prioritize family responsibilities and employment opportunities.”