Clinical Nutrition Research

Our clinical nutrition researchers include faculty members and active clinicians seeking to expand the body of knowledge in nutritional sciences and dietetics practice. They engage in a wide range of multidisciplinary studies, collaborating with colleagues in neurological sciences, cardiology, geriatrics, health systems management, nursing, neonatology and pulmonary/critical care.

Faculty research

Monica L. Bojko MS, RDN, LDN is a clinical dietitian and instructor in the Rush University Cancer Center exploring the benefits of nutrition services for oncology patients. She is currently investigating prophylactic versus reactive PEG placement in head and neck cancer patients. She also serves on a research committee for a student thesis, “Relationship Between Skeletal Muscle Cross-Sectional Area at the Third Lumbar Region and Estimated Lean Body Mass with Resting Energy Expenditure Among ICU Patients Requiring Mechanical Ventilation.”

Leah Cerwinske, MS, RDN, LDN is a clinical dietitian and instructor in the Department of Clinical Nutrition, specifically working in the Rush Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit and Rush Heart Center for Women outpatient clinic.  Leah has worked with a variety of patient populations both within the clinical realm and in the community setting.  She has graduate experience in assessing the validity of a Mediterranean diet screening tool in an adult outpatient setting.  In the future, she hopes to continue pursuing her research interests surrounding cardiovascular health and nutrition.

Molly M. DePrenger, MS, RDN, LDN instructor

Andrea J. Domas, MS, RDN, CDE, LDN instructor

Sharon P. Foley, PhD, RDN is an assistant professor in clinical nutrition. Her research interests include assessing psychometric properties of measures, investigating nutrition assessment methods, applying the transtheoretical model of stage of change and motivational interviewing, and participating in outcomes research.

Victoria S. Glatz, MS, RDN, LDN is a clinical dietitian for general inpatient and the Johnston R. Bowman inpatient rehabilitation units. She completed her graduate studies at Saint Louis University in St. Louis, MO, where she focused on dietetics within pediatric healthcare and community settings. In the future, she hopes to explore the impacts of nutrition and wellness initiatives on public health within the surrounding urban communities.

Kristin A. R. Gustashaw, MS, RDN, LDN, CSG is an advanced-level clinical dietitian and assistant professor working in adult nutrition, disease and wellness; she is a subject matter expert in gerontological nutrition. She is a member of Erika Davis’ thesis committee titled, “The Development of a Questionnaire for Registered Dietitian Nutritionists and Speech-Language Pathologists to Determine the Perceptions and Practice Patterns of the National Dysphagia Diet.”

Jackie Hankins, MS, RDN, CSR, LDN instructor

Christine Hartney, MS, RDN, CNSC, LDN is a dietetic internship coordinator and instructor in the Department of Clinical Nutrition.  Her main faculty responsibilities focus on providing oversight with dietetic interns as they complete the food systems management portion of the dietetic internship.  She also works with students in the clinical portion of the dietetic internship as the Clinical Nutrition Manager. Her research interests include investigating issues with nutrition in stroke patients. She has served on a wide variety of student thesis committees on topics including inpatient diabetes education, knowledge of National Dysphagia diet and health literacy with diet education.

Kathryn S. Keim, PhD, RDN, LDN is a professor and chair of the Department of Clinical Nutrition with research interests in several aspects of childhood obesity and diabetes. In collaboration with a team of Rush pediatric primary care clinicians, she is developing a screening tool to assess behaviors that may predispose a child to a higher risk of obesity. A diabetes-focused community intervention seeks to improve glycemic control among low-income African Americans with type 2 diabetes. Studies with children who have type 1 or type 2 diabetes and adults with type 2 diabetes center on assessing carbohydrate knowledge and exploring whether increased knowledge improves glycemic control. Keim is also actively engaged in research with students in the MS degree program at Rush.

Sally W. Lipson, MS, RDN, LDN is an internship coordinator and instructor in clinical nutrition. Her focus is overseeing the clinical and community portions of the dietetic internship and monitoring ACEND, our accreditation body, requirements. She has served on numerous student research committees in the areas of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Marisa Mozer, MS, RDN, LDN, CNSC is a senior clinical dietitian and instructor focused on symptom management and adequate nutrient delivery for radiation oncology patients. Her studies complement her clinical work as an inpatient oncology dietitian and with patients in the radiation oncology outpatient clinic. Mozer is currently working to identify a protocol for predicting the need for percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) tubes during treatment of patients with head and neck cancers.

Mary C. Mullen, MS, RDN, LDN is a clinical dietitian and instructor whose research projects in pediatric nutrition focus on overweight and obesity, infant feeding practices and diabetes. Working with Rush graduate students, Mullen is validating outpatient tools to help assess infant feeding practices and child and adolescent lifestyle factors associated with BMI. In a project with pediatric endocrinologists, she is focusing on CHO knowledge of children and adolescents with diabetes, as well as caretakers and other health professionals working with this population.

Sarah J. Peterson, PhD, RDN, CNSC, LDN Assistant professor

Kelly Roehl, MS, RDN, CNSC, LDN is an advanced level dietitian and instructor focused on research in neurocritical care, ketogenic diet therapy and metabolism. In her clinical work, Roehl implements various forms of ketogenic diet therapy among both adult and pediatric patients with epilepsy and other neurologic conditions. Research investigations focus on the impact of metabolic therapy on seizure control; changes in sleep, quality of life, gastrointestinal side effects and microbiota; and anthropometric, biochemical changes occurring after implementation of ketogenic diet therapy. 

Natalie B. Ratz, MS, RDN, CNSC, LDN is a senior clinical dietitian and instructor with research projects in several areas of pediatric nutrition. Projects include metabolic cart studies in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, building a pediatric parenteral nutrition data base and implementing a nutrition screening tool to correctly identify and assess pediatric malnutrition.

Amy Salo, MS, RDN, CDE, LDN Registered dietitian and diabetes coordinator and instructor

Diane C. Sowa, MBA, RDN, LDN is an Assistant Professor in Clinical Nutrition and the Director, Dietetic Internship for the MS/RD Clinical Nutrition Program.  Her research endeavors have centered on public policy and supplement use.  She has assisted students’ research in tube feeding tolerance,  use and nutrition support of stroke patients.

Christine Sharp, MS, RDN CNSC, LDN is a clinical dietitian and instructor for inpatient pediatrics and the neonatal intensive care unit. Her research focuses on the implementation of a nutrition screening tool to correctly identify and assess pediatric malnutrition.

Christine C. Tangney, PhD, FACN, CNS is a professor in clinical nutrition at Rush and associate dean for research in the College of Health Sciences. She has special expertise in the assessment of dietary behaviors of individuals and population samples in relation to cardiovascular and cognitive health. Her recent focus has been on the development of short dietary screeners that monitor changes in dietary behaviors and key biomarkers among several populations: young, pre-hypertensive African-American women; middle-aged and older women with cardiovascular risk; and breast cancer survivors. A critical component of her research is quantifying meaningful dietary changes (and, conversely, dietary stability) within the limits of these tools.

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Student research

All Department of Clinical Nutrition graduates complete a thesis, many of which are published in peer-reviewed, professional journals. Following are graduate student theses published in ProQuest, organized from most recent to 2007 by major faculty advisor. 

Class of 2015

Author: Cerwinske, Leah
The Validity of the Mediterranean Eating Pattern for Americans (MEPA) Screener
Publication Information: Rush University, ProQuest, UMI Dissertations Publishing, 2015. 1526550

Author: Davis, Erika
The Development of a Questionnaire for Registered Dietitian Nutritionists and Speech-Language Pathologists to Determine the Perceptions and Practice Patterns of the National Dysphagia Diet
Publication Information: Rush University, ProQuest, UMI Dissertations Publishing, 2015. 1526745

Author: DePrenger, Molly
Validity, Reliability, and Feasibility of a Novel Screening Tool
Publication Information: Rush University, ProQuest, UMI Dissertations Publishing, 2015. 1526557

Author: Ducharme-Smith, Kirstie
Association between Dietary Intake Pattern and A1c in Low-Income African Americans with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus
Publication Information: Rush University, ProQuest, UMI Dissertations Publishing, 2015. 1526477

Author: Herrington, Holly R.
Use of Indirect Calorimetry Among Registered Dietitians
Publication Information: Rush University, ProQuest, UMI Dissertations Publishing, 2015. 1581891

Author: Houdek, Jamie
Validity of a Dietary Inflammatory Index in Predicting Serum Inflammatory Markers C-reactive Protein, Interleukin-6, and Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha in Two Separate Patient Samples
Publication Information: Rush University, ProQuest, UMI Dissertations Publishing, 2015. 1526459

Author: Kirchner, Ranelle
Enhancing the Vegan Diet at Rush University Medical Center
Publication Information: Rush University, ProQuest, UMI Dissertations Publishing, 2015. 1581892

Author: Li, Michelle
Validation of the Mediterranean Eating Pattern for Americans (MEPA) Screener in a Sample of Registered Dietitians
Publication Information: Rush University, ProQuest, UMI Dissertations Publishing, 2015. 1526763

Author: McClure, Jenna Bridget
Testing the Reliability of the AdultCarbQuiz in Inpatients with Type 2 Diabetes
Publication Information: Rush University, ProQuest, UMI Dissertations Publishing, 2015. 1526545

Author: Mondelli, Caitlin
Entry-level Dietitian’s Attitudes about Advocacy and Level of Involvement in Public Policy
Publication Information: Rush University, ProQuest, UMI Dissertations Publishing, 2015. 1526461

Author: Moss, OIivia
Components of a Mediterranean Diet are Associated with Intestinal Permeability in Obese Adults
Publication Information: Rush University, ProQuest, UMI Dissertations Publishing, 2015. 1526475
Freida Xing Pan

Author: Novak, Brittney Michelle
Impact of a Restaurant Style Menu on Patient Satisfaction
Publication Information: Rush University, ProQuest, UMI Dissertations Publishing, 2015. 1526431

Author: Richards, Candace
Determining the Validity of a 16-item Mediterranean Eating Pattern for Americans (MEPA) Screener Among Registered Dietitians
Publication Information: Rush University, ProQuest, UMI Dissertations Publishing, 2015. 1526547

Author: Soelberg, Juliette
Determining the Reliability and Validity of the Newest Vital Sign in the Inpatient Setting
Publication Information: Rush University, ProQuest, UMI Dissertations Publishing, 2015. 1526546

Author: Tan, Candice
Change in Knowledge of and Adherence to the Low-sodium Diet in Heart Failure Patients after Nutrition Education by a Registered Dietitian
Publication Information: Rush University, ProQuest, UMI Dissertations Publishing, 2015 1526476

Author: Tasky, Kelly
Determining the Validity of the Adult Carb Quiz in Inpatients with Type 2 diabetes at Rush University Medical Center
Publication Information: Rush University, ProQuest, UMI Dissertations Publishing, 2015. 1526460

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