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After more than 15 years of outstanding service and invaluable contributions to our university, we announce the retirement of Dr. Marcia Nahikian-Nelms, PhD, RDN, LD, clinical professor and assistant dean for Academic Affairs for the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences (HRS), effective July 1, 2024. Dr. Nahikian-Nelms has been an integral part of our school and the College of Medicine, and we express our deepest gratitude for her transformative work, her departure marks the end of an era.
Dr. Nahikian-Nelms came to The Ohio State University in 2009 as a clinical professor to fill the leadership gap in Medical Nutrition Therapy and bolster the Medical Dietetics Program’s expertise in this area. As both a professor and program director, she played a pivotal role in propelling the program forward, developing new curricula and innovative educational experiences like clinical laboratory simulations and advanced case studies. Dr. Nahikian-Nelms engaged physicians in the classroom and bridged the gap between students and medical professionals, enriching both parties’ understanding of the dietitian’s role. As a sought-after student mentor and thesis advisor, she provided both high-quality learning experiences and individualized advice for her students’ professional futures.
As the school’s first assistant dean for Academic Affairs, she revolutionized academic affairs, student services and curriculum quality and support in HRS. Dr. Nahikian-Nelms is considered the pioneer of interprofessional education in HRS. She provides oversight for curriculum and program development in 14 professional programs; oversees assessment of all academic programs; manages the student affairs team responsible for admissions, recruitment, advising and professional behaviors; and provides leadership in student, faculty and employee development. As a tireless advocate for students, she spearheaded the creation of an embedded counseling program for both undergraduate and graduate students within the College of Medicine. This program has been extremely successful and impacted the lives of countless students within the college and HRS.
Dr. Nahikian-Nelms also served as the director of Teaching and Learning within the Center for Faculty Advancement, Mentoring and Engagement (FAME) in the College of Medicine. In this role, she transformed educational offerings for our faculty. She led the team in the development of two foundational courses, Introduction to Teaching in Medicine and the Health Sciences and Advancing your Clinical Teaching. These courses have been highly impactful for faculty across the College of Medicine and the HRS. Her expertise has been instrumental in the extraordinarily successful Curriculum and Design Cohort Program and Educational Research Series within FAME. In addition, Dr. Nahikian-Nelms worked with the Michael V. Drake Institute for Teaching and Learning to facilitate the development of endorsements relevant to health science clinical educators.
Over the years, Dr. Nahikian-Nelms’s achievements have been recognized through the many awards she received including Outstanding Innovation in Dietetic Education and Teacher of the Year from HRS, the Ohio State Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching, Outstanding Educator for the State of Ohio and Outstanding Educator by the governor of Missouri and Outstanding Innovation in Dietetic Education from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
As a prolific researcher and textbook author, she has published countless articles and abstracts. Dr. Nahikian-Nelms spearheaded the creation of Nutrition Therapy and Pathophysiology (now in its fourth edition) as the lead author and co-authored the widely acclaimed Medical Nutrition Therapy: A Case Study Approach (now in its sixth edition). These textbooks are revered as leading educational resources in dietetics, recognized not only across the United States but also globally.
Dr. Nahikian-Nelms’s unwavering commitment to students, her expertise and her remarkable contributions have significantly contributed to the success and growth of HRS and will leave an indelible mark on all of us who have had the privilege of working alongside her. Her presence will be deeply missed, and while we celebrate her well-deserved retirement, we also acknowledge the void her absence will leave within our school, the college and the university. Her legacy and impact will undoubtedly endure.