School of Interdisciplinary Health Professions welcomes new chair

The College of Health and Human Sciences (CHHS) welcomed its first chair for the new School of Interdisciplinary Health Professions (SIHP), Paul Priester.

Priester
Paul Priester, chair for the new School of Interdisciplinary Health Professions

Priester who holds a Ph.D. degree in counseling psychology and an M.A. degree in counselor education: rehabilitation counseling, comes to NIU from North Park University, Chicago, where he was chair of their department of counseling psychology.

“Dr. Priester’s research and leadership experience exemplify interdisciplinary collaboration, and we are thrilled to have him on board,” said Derryl Block, dean for the College of Health and Human Sciences.

The SIHP is the academic home to programs that prepare students for health-related careers including the B.S. and M.S. degrees in health sciences, the B.S. degree in rehabilitation and disability services, and M.S. degree in rehabilitation counseling. The school was added to the CHHS in 2018 to include programs that were in other schools in the college. CHHS Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Beverly Henry was the interim chair for SIHP.

“The school was established to enhance opportunities for synergy between programs and interdisciplinary collaboration to strengthen faculty achievements and student success,” Henry said. “Dr. Priester is a great fit to lead with his research background and positive spirit.”

Priester believes the school is poised for success.

“The reorganization leading to the structure of the new school represents the cutting edge in interprofessional education curriculum. This reorganization has set the table for even more success for the programs in the school,” Priester said.

His previous experience includes faculty positions at Cardinal Stritch University, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, University of Notre Dame and North Park University. He has published works on the relationship between religious beliefs and health outcomes, the integration of spirituality into the counseling process, the measurement of Islamic religiosity, non-disability privilege, evidence-based substance abuse prevention and counseling, and multicultural counseling.

Priester is originally from Bettendorf, Iowa but has lived in Milwaukee for the past 20 years. He and his wife Katherine have three children.

“I am thrilled to become a part of the Huskies’ family and look forward to meeting everyone in person. Please stop by my office and introduce yourself,” Priester said.

His office is in Wirtz Hall 323, and he can be reached at 815-753-5198 and ppriester@niu.edu.

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