By Molly Cunha
Dr. Barbara Shorter, a professor of nutrition in the School of Health Professions and Nursing, embodies a true role model in her field, in the classroom, and in leadership.
She was raised in Queens and got her bachelor’s degree in dietetics from Hunter College. She found a passion for nutrition when she started going to school originally for nursing, and found herself most interested in nutrition when speaking with dietetic students in her chemistry class.
She went back to school to NYU and Columbia University for two masters degrees. Remaining in the city for her education, she continued at Columbia University for her Doctorate in Nutrition Education (EdD).
As a registered dietitian/nutritionist (RDN), a certified dietician-/nutritionist (CDN), a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the American Urological Association, she continues to work in the field. Not only has she taught at Post since 2001, she also works one day a week in a clinical setting meeting with patients at Northwell Health on the faculty of the Smith Institute for Urology. She also spends time doing research in addition to teaching multiple nutrition classes at Post.
Dr. Shorter is an expert on interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome IC/BPS. She focuses on the effects of food sensitivity on chronic pelvic pain. Internationally known for her landmark research that is validated and published in the Journal of Urology, “Statistical Validation of the Shorter-Moldwin Food Sensitivity Questionnaire for IC/BPS Patients” her work is now used as part of the treatment algorithm for IC/BPS patients. Dr. Shorter’s work has been published for a Springer textbook on Chronic Pelvic Pain, in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the British Journal of Urology, and she has been cited over 100 times for her first article published in the Journal of Urology.
Her passion for nutrition extends overseas, as well. For the past two years during the summer she has brought students to the village of Karatu, in Tanzania, Africa, to teach the Tumaini primary and secondary school students affective nutrition and health. The two-week long volunteer trips have given Post students a chance to make an impact globally, gain experience in the health and nutrition field, and have the opportunity of a lifetime. She will continue to visit every year, because she sponsors a child from Karatu to attend school, and enjoys visiting him. Dr. Shorter calls her trips to Tanzania “a life changing experience.” On the trip, students learn from nutrition that “we don’t recognize how blessed we are, what diversity we have, how many nutritious foods we have and how many wonderful choices we can make. They don’t have a wide variety of many nutritious foods, and often there is no electric or refrigeration. It is really amazing how well people can do with so little,” she said.
In 2015, she received the Long Island Dietetic Association award for Dietician of the Year. The advice she gives to students about health and nutrition is, “Healthy eating can be very pleasurable.” You don’t have to cut out foods you don’t like to be healthy; there are many ways to enjoy tasty foods and a better quality of life.” Dr. Shorter continues to inspire her students every day with her experience and passion for this field.