Charlene W. Compher, PhD, RD, CNSC, LDN, FADA, FASPEN
The limited ability to absorb nutrients from food challenges the quality of life of patients with severe gastrointestinal diseases and critical illness.
Through her clinical practice and research, Charlene W. Compher has improved quality of life for people with short bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, and critical illnesses.
“Working on research projects that have the potential to improve the quality of patients’ lives and participating in team science is exciting and inspiring.”
- PhD, Drexel University, 1999
- MS, Drexel University, 1982
- BS, University of Tennessee, 1970
As a clinician educator for the Clinical Nutrition Support Service at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP), Dr. Compher is the team leader for home parenteral nutrition. 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 hospital patients.
Dr. Compher’s students know that she understands the issues they’ll face in their clinical practice. She mentors undergraduate and doctoral students and involves students at all levels in her research. Dr. Compher teaches the capstone course for nutrition minors and case study in clinical nutrition.
Dr. Compher’s clinical work has been the inspiration for her research, including several clinical trials that contributed to the 2012 FDA approval of teduglutide, the first targeted therapy for short bowel syndrome to reduce intravenous nutrition for these patients. More recently, Dr. Compher and colleagues compared the effectiveness of exclusive enteral nutrition feeding, partial enteral nutrition, and biological therapy on Crohn’s disease in children. They found that exclusive enteral nutrition and biological therapy had similar effectiveness. Another study of critically ill patients found that higher protein intake was associated with improved survival and faster discharge.
Research on Gut Microbiome to Advance Nutrition Science
Much of Dr. Compher’s current research examines links between diet, the gut microbiome, and important clinical outcomes. Through a grant from the March of Dimes, she is collaborating with HUP’s Maternal Fetal Medicine Practice group to study differences in maternal diet and gut microbiome between women who have spontaneous pre-term births and women who carry to term. Dr. Compher also uses using large prospective databases to develop evidence for better decision-making about nutrition therapy for critically ill patients.
As editor of clinical guidelines for the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition, Dr. Compher led teams that published 15 guidelines, including recent guidelines for the nutrition support in adult critically ill patients, a collaboration with the Society of Critical Care Medicine. These guidelines have been widely adopted in clinical practice and are posted on the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s website. Dr. Compher is president of the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition, a multi-profession society that seeks to lead the science and practice of clinical nutrition.
Opportunities to Learn and Collaborate at Penn Nursing
Dr. Compher is faculty director of the Nutrition Minor, a joint program of the School of Nursing and the School of Arts and Sciences, and the largest cross-school minor at Penn. Starting in September 2016, students with majors in nursing or arts and sciences will also be able to choose nutrition science as a second major.
Selected Career Highlights
- Fellow, American 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
- Taylor, B.E., McClave, S.A., Martindale, R.G., Johnson, D.R., Braunschweig, C., et al. (2016). 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). Critical Care Medicine, 44(2), 390-438. (PMID: 26771786).10.1097/CCM.0000000000001525
- Kuchina, A., Earthman, C., Teigen, L., Cole, A., Mourtzakis, M., Paris, M., et al. (2016). Evaluation of bioelectrical impedence analysis in critically ill patients: Results of a multicenter prospective study. Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition, Published online 5/24/2016, (PMID: 27221673.10.1177/0148607116651063
- Al Sawah, S., Compher, C.W., Hanlon, A.L., & Lipman, T.H. (2016). 25-Hydroxyvitamin D and glycemic control: A cross-sectional study of children and adolescents with type I diabetes. Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice, 115, 54-59. (PMID: 24242123).10.1016/j.diabres.2016.03.002
- Lee, D., Baldassano, R.N., Otley, A.R., Albenberg, L., Grittiths, A.M., Compher, C., et al. (2015). Comparative effectiveness of nutritional and biological therapy in North American children with active Crohn’s disease. Injury Prevention, 21(8), 1786-1793. (PMID: 25970545).10.1097/MIB.0000000000000426
- Malon, S.K., Zemel, B., Compher, C., Souders, M., Chittams, J., Thompson, A.L., & Lipman, T.H. (2015). Characteristics associated with sleep duration, chronotype, and social jet lag in adolescents. Journal of School Nursing, published 9/16/2015, (PMID: 26376832).10.1177/1059840515603454
- Lewis, J.D., Chen, E.Z., Baldassano, R.N., Otley, A.R., Griffths, A.M., Lee, D., et al. (2015). Inflammation, antibiotics, and diet as environmental stressors of the gut microbiome in pediatric Crohn’s Disease. Cell Host & Microbe, 18(4), 489-500. (PMID: 26468751).10.1016/j.chom.2015.09.008
- Albenberg, L., Lee, D., compher, C., Baldassano, R., Piccoli, D., Lewis, J.D., & wu, D.G. (in press). Diet and IBD: Disease pathogenesis and potential therapeutics. Gastroenterology, .
- Compher, C.. Levinson, K., Cambor, C., Stoner, N., Boullata, J., Piarulli, A., & Kinosian, B. (in press). A patient with parenteral nutrition-dependent short bowel syndrome and cardiovascular disease with four year exposure to teduglutide. Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition, .
- Wu, G.D. Compher, C., Chen, E.Z., Smith, S.A., Shah, R.D., Bittinger, K., et al. (2014). Comparative metabolomics in vegans and omnivores reveal constraints on diet-dependent gut microbiota metabolite production. Gut, Published online 11/26/14, (PMID: 25431456).10.1136/gutjnl-2014-308209
- Ayers, P., Adams, S., Boullata, J., Gervasio, J,. Holcombe, B., Kraft ,M.D., et al. (2014). A.S.P.E.N. parenteral nutrition safety consensus recommendations. Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition, 38(3), 296-333. (PMID: 24280129).10.1177/0148607113511992