Charlene W Compher, PhD, RD, CNSC, LDN, FADA
Professor of Nutrition Science
University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing
Room 331 Fagin Hall
418 Curie Blvd.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104-4217
tel: (215) 898-3619
Charlene Compher is an internationally-recognized authority on the nutritional care of patients with severe gastrointestinal disease and obesity. A Professor of Nutrition Science at Penn Nursing, Dr. Compher’s clinical appointment is Advanced Practice Dietitian Clinical Specialist with the Clinical Nutrition Support Service at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Compher has a secondary appointment with the Division of Surgery at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Compher guides the translation of research findings into evidence-based practice decisions in her role as Editor in Chief of the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition’s Clinical Practice Guidelines.
Two core questions motivate Dr. Compher's interdisciplinary research agenda directed towards improved patient outcomes:
(1) What nutritional therapies improve the absorption of nutrients in patients with severe gastrointestinal disease?
(2) What interventions can improve weight loss or nutritional status of patients after obesity surgery?
Dr. Compher carries her value for interdisciplinary collaboration into her teaching. Her popular “Obesity and Society” course brings faculty colleagues across the Penn campus to share their recent research findings and professional expertise with students from diverse academic orientations. The “Advanced Nutrition and Metabolism” capstone course for Nutrition Minors at Penn also brings late-breaking research findings of significance for nutrition into the knowledge base of students.
Dr. Compher collaborates with the Human Microbiome Project at the University of Pennsylvania, in an effort to describe linkages between diet and gastrointestinal bacteria. Dr. Compher has led a series of clinical trials at Penn that examine the safety and efficacy of a drug with great promise for improving nutrient absorption in patients with severe gastrointestinal disease. Dr. Compher’s efforts to document patient outcomes after stopping this drug were awarded the Oley Foundation Home Parenteral Nutrition Consumer Research Prize in 2011. The body of Dr. Compher’s research was recognized by the American Dietetic Association with the 2009 Excellence in the Practice Award for Dietetic Research.
Dr. Compher collaborates with the Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence team at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania to examine attributes of successful weight loss, and vitamin D nutritional status after obesity surgery.
Dr. Compher leads an international team of faculty members in a series of research projects addressing the emerging problem of adolescent obesity in Botswana. She spent a semester as a Fulbright Africa Research Scholar at the University of Botswana in 2010.
Currently Funded Grants
Center for Biobehavioral Research
Questions that arise from Dr. Compher’s clinical practice with the Clinical Nutrition Support Service at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania guide her research, publications and student mentorship. A member of the interdisciplinary home parenteral nutrition team, Dr. Compher provides advanced practice dietetics services to 85 patients. She represents the team at national and international conferences. Dr. Compher’s contributions to the practice of dietetics have been recognized by the 2006 American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition Distinguished Nutrition Support Dietitian Award. In 2013, Dr Compher’s multi-disciplinary nutrition support team was recognized by the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition as a Team of Distinction.
As Editor in Chief of the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition Clinical Practice Guidelines, Dr. Compher leads teams of author experts in the development and publication of evidence-based clinical guidelines to provide expert advice for both adult and pediatric clinicians in the care of patients who require feedings by vein (parenteral nutrition) or by feeding tube (enteral nutrition).
Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
Dr Compher was honored as a Fellow of the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition in 2013. Dr. Compher has been awarded the Excellence in the Practice of Research Award in 2009 and the Distinguished Service Award in 2007 by the American Dietetic Association. In 2006, she was awarded the Distinguished Nutrition Support Dietitian Award by the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition. These national-level honors recognize her leadership in research and nutrition support practice.
In addition to her roles at the School of Nursing, Dr. Compher is the Faculty Director of the Nutrition Minor. She is Associate Director of the Bionutrition Core of the Clinical Translational Research Center, where she leads a group of dietitians in provision of excellent dietetics research services to Penn investigators.
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