Charlene W Compher, PhD, RD, CNSC, LDN, FADA
Shearer Endowed Term Chair in Healthy Community Practices; Professor of Nutrition Science

Contact Information
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 critical illness. 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, where she provides evidence-based care and conducts research with patients with severe gastrointestinal disease. Dr. Compher has a secondary appointment with the Division of Surgery at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

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?
Inflammation, Antibiotics, and Diet as Environmental Stressors of the Gut Microbiome in Pediatric Crohn's Disease

(2) What nutritional interventions can improve clinical outcomes of critically ill patients?
Guidelines for the Provision and Assessment of Nutrition Support Therapy in the Adult Critically Ill Patient: Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM) and American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (ASPEN)

Dr. Compher is Faculty Director of Nutrition Programs in the School of Nursing. Penn students from the School of Nursing and the School of Arts and Sciences may pursue either a second major in Nutrition Science or a Nutrition Minor. These rigorous, cross-school collaborative programs are based on courses from both schools.

Dr. Compher carries her value for interdisciplinary collaboration into her teaching. Her popular “Case Study in Clinical Nutrition” course brings faculty colleagues across the Penn campus to share their professional expertise with nursing students who seek a broad exposure to nutrition care in diverse clinical settings. The “Advanced Nutrition and Metabolism” capstone course for Nutrition Minors at Penn also brings important late-breaking research findings in nutrition science 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, gastrointestinal bacteria, and clinical outcomes. 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 short bowel syndrome. Dr. Compher researches investigations in critically ill patients that examine the role of type of feeding on clinical outcomes.

• Currently Funded Grants

• Center for Biobehavioral Research

Clinical Practice
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. 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.

• Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania


Dr. Compher is President of the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition, a role that recognizes her stature as a leader in this multi-professional organization that improves patient care by advancing the science and practice of clinical nutrition and metabolism. 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 Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 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 Programs, including the new second major in Nutrition Science. She is Associate Director of the Bionutrition Core of the Clinical Translational Research Center, where she leads dietitians in provision of excellent dietetics research services to Penn investigators.

• Honors/Awards Details »

Publications (select year)
2016  | 2015  | 2014  | 2013  | 2012  | 2011  | 2010  | 2009  | 2008  | 2007  | 2006  |
2005  | 2004  | 2003  | 2002  | 2001  | 2000  | 1999  | 1998  | 1997 and Prior  |
In Press  | More Publications 

This is without doubt the most exciting time to be engaged in nutrition science. Insights from molecular biology, genomics, microbiomics and metabolomics are exponentially expanding our knowledge of nutrient function and health outcomes related to dietary patterns. We are on the threshold of effective, innovative nutritional strategies for disease prevention and treatment. I am honored to participate in this exciting clinical endeavor.