Department Chair's Message

Sarah Jordan, PhDWelcome to the Department of Nutrition and Health Care Management.  Undergraduate programs and areas of concentration include Dietetics, Foodsystems Management, and Health Care Management.  A Master’s program in Nutrition is available. The Department values excellence in teaching and learning, achievement in scholarship, and service. We endeavor to promote a healthy lifestyle and to improve lives and communities.  Ninety percent of the full-time faculty hold a doctoral degree in their specialty. Our faculty have substantial experience in areas of Health Care Management, Foodsystems Management, and Dietetics.  This experience enables the faculty to provide both theoretical and practical perspectives in the classroom.

All our programs provide students the opportunity for real life experience. Through an internship, students gain experience while demonstrating competence in their major area.  This experience not only meets a degree requirement but also leads to the next step. Students are well positioned for employment, graduate study, or a dietetic internship. Leadership opportunities are provided for students in the student organizations which promote service to the community and exposure to a variety of professionals.  Students obtain positions in health care agencies, institutions, private practices, community agencies, schools, and companies that sell products related to health care, nutrition, or foods.  The Health Care Management program and both the undergraduate Dietetics and graduate Nutrition programs are accredited.  The faculty and I look forward to meeting you, answering any questions, and guiding you in your pursuit of a degree.

Dr Jordan

News and Spotlight

Dr. Trent Spaulding of the Department of Nutrition and Healthcare Management and three colleagues recently completed research to be published in the journal Decision Support Sysetms regarding the adoption of information technology in U.S. hospitals.

In the hospital environment, electronic health records (EHR) are made up of many different, smaller systems or functions. Hospitals often implement these smaller systems individually or in small groups in order to reach the goals of full automation. The study used data on more than 140 hospitals over 10 years. It evaluated the effects of the order of adoption on costs and revenues. Dr Spaulding and his co-authors suggest that some hospitals pay more attention to organizational factors while others focus on operational excellence. Most of the hospitals showed a tendency to favor organizational factors by first implementing systems where administration has the most organizational power. The analysis also showed that hospitals which favored organizational factors had more positive effects on net income than did hospitals which favored operational factors.

Hospitals are very complex organizational environments. Physicians, administrators, nurses, and many others have different incentives and very strong identities. According to Dr. Spaulding, the findings of this study suggest that it may be more expensive to ignore political boundaries than it is to focus on traditional operational measures related to process quality and efficiency. The study does not suggest that operational factors should be ignored. Wise decision makers will recognize the importance of respecting organizational boundaries in the process of implementing electronic health records.

This work is particularly relevant in today’s environment. The HITECH Act enacted as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 provided $18 billion in incentives to implement and use EHRs. The rate of adoption of EHRs has jumped significantly over the last year in order to take advantage of this incentive and avoid penalties in 2017.

The study was published in the May 2013 issue of Decision Support Systems (volume 55, issue 2). The article is available at ScienceDirect.

Visit the official website of the Appalachian State University College of Health Sciences


Department Chair
jordansr [at] appstate [dot] edu (Sarah Jordan, PhD, RD)

Nutrition Undergraduate
gutschallmd [at] appstate [dot] edu (Melissa Gutschall, PhD, RD, LDN)

Nutrition Graduate
rootmm [at] appstate [dot] edu (Martin Root, MS, PhD)

Health Care Management
willimsdr [at] appstate [dot] edu (David Williams, PhD)

Main Office
Phone: 828-262-8619
Fax: 828-262-8626
L.S. Doughtery, room 101
261 Locust Street
Boone NC 28608


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