Charlene W. Compher, PhD, RD, LDN, FASPEN
An enhanced understanding of the role of diet in health and disease is a compelling challenge of the 21st century
Through her research and clinical practice, Charlene W. Compher works to meet this challenge while enhancing the quality of nutrition care of vulnerable populations and training the next generation of nutrition scientists and nurses.
“Embedding nutrition science into investigations of diet-disease relationships is an essential step towards health promotion and disease prevention. Establishing the evidence to support nutrition care for health systems and clinicians will improve the quality of healthcare globally.”
- PhD, Drexel University, 1999
- MS, Drexel University, 1982
- BS, University of Tennessee, 1970
Dr. Compher’s team science research is directed towards clarifying the impact of dietary or nutritional intake, in the context of gut intestinal microbiota and metabolites, on health and disease. Novel approaches to obtain information about dietary intake in a user-friendly way is a key focus.
Dr. Compher’s scholarship is committed to equitable access to a healthy diet and evidence-based, high quality nutrition care. Nutritional vulnerability can result from food insecurity or structural racism with limited employment opportunities as well as from the impacts of unsafe neighborhood environments, all resulting in limited access to healthy food. The strong association between unhealthy diet and increased burden of chronic noncommunicable diseases is recognized in the US and globally. Chronic and acute diseases can lead to malnutrition that requires diagnosis and effective treatment. Dr. Compher’s research, clinical practice, and global collaborations converge to address these key concerns in vulnerable populations.
NUTR 6070: Nutrition Science Capstone Planning
NUTR 6080: Nutrition Science Capstone Completion
Dr. Compher directs our innovative asynchronous online MS in Nutrition Science, focused on multi-professional education and our Graduate Nutrition Certificate and Minor. In the virtual classroom, Dr. Compher employs innovative approaches to reduce the impact of socioeconomic inequities on learning. She is committed to outstanding mentorship as a strategy to enable all students to attain their highest potential.
Research on Gut Microbiota and Metabolites to Advance Nutrition Science
Much of Dr. Compher’s current research examines links between diet, the gut microbiota, metabolites, and important clinical outcomes. As Director of Diet Assessment Research for the Penn-CHOP Microbiome Program and as Director of Clinical Initiatives for the Penn Center for Nutrition Science and Medicine (PenNSAM https://www.med.upenn.edu/pennsam/), she facilitates the incorporation of dietary intake information into team science projects. She leads the development of the Penn Healthy Diet survey to obtain information about diet quality for nutrition counseling sessions as well as for microbiome and metabolome investigations.
As a clinician educator for the Clinical Nutrition Support Service at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Compher is an Advanced Practice Dietitian Specialist and team leader for home parenteral nutrition and for research. The Clinical Nutrition Support Service, comprised of dietitians, nurses, pharmacists, and physicians, is the oldest nutrition team in the U.S., providing evidence-based nutrition care to high-acuity adult patients.
Dr. Compher was president of the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (ASPEN) in 2016-17, a multi-professional society that seeks to lead the science and practice of clinical nutrition. She published 16 clinical guidelines for the provision of enteral or parenteral feedings for children or adults as editor in chief of clinical guidelines for ASPEN. She has partnered with leaders from global nutrition societies to develop the Global Leadership Initiative on Malnutrition (GLIM), an approach to standardize the diagnosis of malnutrition in adults in clinical settings and enable identification of best practices in treatment of malnutrition. Dr. Compher is a renowned thought leader in clinical nutrition and metabolism.
Opportunities to Learn and Collaborate at Penn Nursing
Dr. Compher is deeply committed to collaboration in research, clinical practice, and education. She excels at facilitating the work of groups to achieve greater research productivity, quality of care, and optimized learning experiences.
Selected Career Highlights
- Elaine R. Monsen Memorial Award for Outstanding Research Literature 2023
- Normal M. Lang Distinguished Award for Scholarly Practice and Policy, School of Nursing 2019
- Fellow, American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition
- Honorary memberships, European Society for Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism, and Chinese Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition
- Excellence in Research Awards, American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition and Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
- Faculty Mentorship Award, Biobehavioral Health Systems Department, Penn Nursing
- Alumni Award for Service to the Profession of Dietetics, Drexel University
Lewis JD, Sandler R, Brotherton C, Brensinger C, Li H, Kappelman MD, Daniel SG, Bittinger K, Albenberg L, Valentine JF, Hanson J, Suskind D, Meyer A, Compher CW, Bewtra M, Saxena A, Dobes A, Cohen B, Flynn AD, Fischer M, Saha S, Swaminath A, Yacshyn B, Scherl E, Horst S, Curtis JR, Braly K, Nessel L, McCauley M, McKeever L, Herfarth H, the DINE-CD Study Group. (2021) A randomized trial comparing the specific carbohydrate diet to a mediterranean diet in adults with Crohn’s disease, Gastroenterology 2021. May 27:S0016-5085(21)03069-9. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2021.05.047. Online ahead of print. PMID: 34052278
Cederholm T, Jensen GL, Correia MITD, Gonzalez MC, Fukushima R, Higashiguchi T, Baptista G, Barazzoni R, Blaauw R, Coats A, Crivelli A, Evans DC, Gramlich L, Fuchs-Tarlovsky V, Keller H, Llido L, Malone A, Mogensen KM, Morley JE, Muscaritoli M, Nyulasi I, Pirlich M, Pisprasert V, de van der Schueren MAE, Siltharm S, Singer P, Tappenden K, Velasco N, Waitzberg D, Yamwong P, Yu J, Van Gossum A, Compher C; GLIM Core Leadership Committee; GLIM Working Grou GLIM criteria for the diagnosis of malnutrition - A consensus report from the global clinical nutrition community.Clin Nutr. 2018 Sep 3. pii: S0261-5614(18)31344-X. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2018.08.002. [Epub ahead of print] PMID:30181091
Compher C, Chittams J, Sammarco T, Higashibeppu N, Higashiguchi T, Heyland DK. (2018). Greater nutrient intake Is associated with lower mortality in western and eastern critically ill patients with low BMI: A multicenter, multinational observational study. JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr. 2018 Jun 30. doi: 10.1002/jpen.1180. [Epub ahead of print]. PMID: 29959851; JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr. 2018;00:1–7
Compher C, Bingham AL, McCall M, Patel J, Rice TW, Braunschweig C, McKeever L. (2021). Guidelines for the provision of nutrition support therapy in the adult critically Ill patient: American society for parenteral and enteral nutrition. JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr. 2021.Nov 16. doi: 10.1002/jpen.2267. Online ahead of print. PMID: 34784064
Hudson L, Chittams J, Griffith C, Compher C. Malnutrition identified by Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics/American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition is associated with more 30-day readmissions, greater hospital mortality, and longer hospital stays: a retrospective analysis of nutrition assessment data in a major medical center. JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr. 2018. DOI 10.1002/jpen.1021. PMID 29385244
Gershuni V, Li Y, Li H, Elovitz M, Wu GD, Compher C. Maternal gut microbiota reflecting poor diet quality is associated with spontaneous preterm birth in a prospective cohort study. Am J Clin Nutr, epub Jan 29, 2021: 1-10.PMID: 33515003
Dolin C, Compher C, Durnwald C. (2021) Pregnant and hungry: Addressing food insecurity in pregnant women during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic in the United States, Am J Obstet Gynecol MFM. 2021 Apr 28:100378. doi: 10.1016/j.ajogmf.2021.100378. Online ahead of print. PMID: 33932628.
Chassaing B, Compher C, Bonhomme B, Liu Q, Tian Y, Walters W, Nessel L, Delaroque C, Hao F, Gershuni V, Chau L, Ni J, Bewtra M, Albenberg L, Bretin A, McKeever L, Ley RE, Patterson AD, Wu GD, Gewirtz AT, Lewis JD. Randomized controlled-feeding study of dietary emulsifier carboxymethylcellulose reveals detrimental impacts on the gut microbiota and metabolome. Gastroenterology. 2021 Nov 10:S0016-5085(21)03728-8. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2021.11.006. Online ahead of print. PMID: 34774538
Compher C, Jain AJ, Nichol PF, Blackmer A, Earthman C, Evans DC, McCarthy MS, Taylor B, Mehta N. (2018). Research Agenda: 2018: The American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition. JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr. 2018 Jun 30.
Paniagua-Avila MA, Messenger E, Nelson CA, Calgua E, Barg FK, Bream KW, Compher C, Dean AJ, Martinez-Siekavizza S, Puac-Polanc V, Richmond TS, Roth RR, Branas CC. The Guatemala-Penn Partnership: An Innovative Inter-Institutional Model for Scientific Capacity-building, Healthcare Education, and Public Health. Front Pub Health; epub 10 Apr 2017; doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2017.00070