Carol J. Boushey, PhD, MPH, RD

Carol J. Boushey, PhD, MPH, RD

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Director, Nutrition Support Shared Resource, University of Hawaiʻi Cancer Center
Full Member, Population Sciences in the Pacific Program (Cancer Epidemiology), University of Hawaiʻi Cancer Center

Academic Appointment(s):
Associate Professor (Associate Researcher), University of Hawaiʻi Cancer Center, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Graduate Faculty, Nutrition Sciences, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Adjunct Professor, Department of Foods and Nutrition, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
Courtesy Faculty, Nutrition and Health Sciences, Oregon State University, Corvalis, OR
University Associate, School of Public Health, Curtin University, Perth, Western Austalia

PhD, Nutritional Sciences and Epidemiology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
MPH, Public Health Nutrition, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Registered Dietitian

Research Focus

I specialize in all aspects of assessing the broad spectrum of dietary exposures which provides the expertise to serve the University of Hawaiʻi Cancer Center as Director of the Nutrition Support Shared Resource. Examination of the relationships between diet and chronic disease outcomes, such as cancer and obesity, can aid the development of policies directed to improving dietary intakes in the population. Harnessing the capabilities of web-based, mobile-based, and image-based technology tools offer an opportunity to reach a wide audience via cost-effective, convenient, timely, and familiar channels. In collaboration with scientists in engineering at Purdue University, we have created the Technology Assisted Dietary Assessment (TADA) system that uses an integrated digital camera in a mobile telephone for taking images of foods. The TADA system consists of two main parts: the mobile food record (mFR) app and the backend system consisting of computation and database servers that employ image analysis to automatically identify foods and portion sizes. Researchers can access real-time data using a specially constructed web-application. The TADA system is the first of its kind to be developed as demonstrated by two patents. The system has been used successfully with diverse populations ranging in age from 1 to 65 years.

Directly related to capturing dietary data is the process of realistically quantifying dietary exposures. Within the last decade, the examination of dietary intake has broadened to include dietary patterns in order to capture the complexity of foods and beverages consumed, and as a result, to better assess relationships of diet and disease. I am a part of the Dietary Patterns Methods Project which was initiated by the National Cancer Institute in an effort to establish a common methodology for the application of dietary indexes, and in so doing, strengthen the scientific evidence relating dietary patterns to mortality. These new dietary pattern methods have been used with the Multiethnic Cohort which includes 215,000 adults representing five ethnic groups (Japanese, Hawaiian, non-Hispanic white, African American, Hispanic/Latino). The patterns of food and contextual information surrounding eating occasions offer promise with regard to establishing links with diet and disease which translate to population recommendations and food-based dietary guidelines.

Selected Publications

Mahabir S, Willett WC, Friedenreich CM, Lai GY, Boushey CJ, Matthews CE, Sinha R, Colditz GA, Rothwell JA, Reedy J, Patel AV, Leitzmann MF, Fraser GE, Ross S, Hursting SD, Abnet CC, Kushi, LH, Taylor PR, Prentice RL. (2018). Research strategies for nutritional and physical activity epidemiology and cancer prevention. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 27(3), 233-244. doi:101158/1055-9965. PMID: 29256934.

Panizza CE, Shvetsov YB, Harmon BE, Wilkens LR, Le Marchand L, Haiman C, Reedy J, Boushey CJ. (2018). Testing the predictive validity of the Healthy Eating Index-2015 in the Multiethnic Cohort: Is the score associated with a reduced risk of all-cause and cause-specific mortality? Nutrients, 10(4). pii: E452. doi: 10.3390/nu10040452. PMID:29621192.

Maskarinec G, Lim U, Jacobs S, Monroe KR, Ernst T, Buchthal SD, Shepherd JA, Wilkens LR, Le Marchand L, Boushey CJ. (2017). Diet Quality in Midadulthood Predicts Visceral Adiposity and Liver Fatness in Older Ages: The Multiethnic Cohort Study. Obesity (Silver Spring). Aug;25(8):1442-1450. doi: 10.1002/oby.21868.

Harmon BE, Wirth MD, Boushey CJ, Wilkens LR, Draluck E, Shivappa N, Steck SE, Hofseth L, Haiman CA, Le Marchand L, Hebert JR. (2017). The Dietary Inflammatory Index is associated with colorectal cancer risk in the Multiethnic Cohort. J Nutr. 147(3):430-438. doi: 10.3945/jn.116.242529. PMID: 28179489.

Boushey CJ, Spoden M, Zhu FM, Delp EJ, Kerr D. (2016). New mobile methods for dietary assessment: Review of image-assisted and image-based dietary assessment methods. Proc Nutr Soc. 12:1-2.

Active Grants

C. Boushey, Co-Investigator; R. Novotny, PI
2018-69001-27551, USDA
“Children’s Healthy Living Center of Excellence (CHL Center)”
CHL’s goal is to serve as a Center of Excellence to continue to build capacity in a partnership among 11 jurisdictions of the US Affiliated Pacific, to provide training, research and extension/outreach to maintain and extend the CHL network, examine long-term effects of the multilevel CHL intervention and provide access to best practices in policy, systems and environmental approaches for prevention of child obesity.
03/01/2018 – 02/28/2023

C. Boushey, Co-Investigator; L. Le Marchand, PI
U01 CA164973, NCI
"Understanding ethnic differences: The Multiethnic Cohort Study"
A longitudinal study following adults representing five ethnic groups for more than 20 years to investigate diet and genetics and risk for cancers, other chronic conditions, and mortality.
09/01/2012 – 08/31/2022

C. Boushey, Director, Nutrition Support Shared Resource, R. Holcombe, PI
5P30CA071789-19, NCI
"University of Hawaiʻi Cancer Center CCSG"
The Cancer Center Support Grant (CCSG) is the foundational infrastructure that supports two Cancer Center programs, Cancer Biology and Population Sciences in the Pacific, and five shared resources including analytical biochemistry, biostatistics, genomics and bioinformatics, nutrition support, and metabolomics. The CCSG also supports translational and clinical research services involving an extensive network of oncology care sites across the State. The mission of the University of Hawaiʻi Cancer Center is to reduce the burden of cancer through research, education, patient care and community outreach with an emphasis on the unique ethnic, cultural and environmental characteristics of Hawaiʻi and the Pacific. Because of the unique population in Hawaiʻi, UH Cancer Center investigators examine questions that are not easily addressed within the continental states with impact on patient care on a local, national, and global level. Moreover, UH Cancer Center directs cancer prevention and control research activities across the Pacific.
07/01/1997 – 06/30/2022

C. Boushey, Co-Investigator, W. Setiawan, PI
R01 CA228589, NCI
“Understanding the Determinants of Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Liver Cancer and Chronic Liver Disease in Understudied and High Risk Populations”
The goal of this study is to examine the association of lifestyle, fenetic, social, and contextual factors with HCC and NAFLD to better understand disease etiology in Latinos, African Americans, Japanese Americans, Native Hawaiians and whites and the factors underlying disease disparities in these populations.
03/06/2018 – 02/28/2022