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Carol J. Boushey, PhD, MPH, RD

Carol Jo Boushey, PhD
  • Full Member
    Population Sciences in the Pacific Program (Cancer Epidemiology)
    University of Hawaii Cancer Center
  • Director, Nutrition Support Shared Resource
    University of Hawaii Cancer Center
  • Academic Appointments

  • Associate Researcher (Associate Professor)
    University of Hawaii Cancer Center
    University of Hawaii at Manoa
  • Graduate Faculty, Nutrition Sciences
    University of Hawaii at Manoa
  • 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 Hawaii at Manoa
  • 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 Hawaii 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 3 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

  • 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.
  • Panizza CE, Boushey CJ, Delp EJ, Kerr DA, Lim E, Gandhi K, Banna JC. (2017). Characterizing early adolescent plate waste using the mobile food record. Nutrients; 26:9(2). pii. E93. doi: 10.3390/nu9020093. PMID: 28134757.
  • Boushey CJ, Spoden M, Delp EJ, Zhu F, Bosch M, Ahmad Z, Shvetsov YB, DeLany JP, Kerr DA. (2017). Reported energy intake accuracy compared to doubly labeled water and usability of the mobile food record among community dwelling adults. Nutrients; 9(3): pii: E312.
  • 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.
  • Boushey CJ, Delp EJ, Ahmad Z, Wang Y, Roberts GM, Grattan LM. (2016). Dietary assessment of domoic acid exposure: What can be learned from traditional methods and new applications for a technology assisted device. Harmful Algae; 57(B):51-55.

Publication list via PubMed

Active Grants

  • C. Boushey, Co-Investigator; L. Le Marchand, PI
    "Obesity, body fat distribution, and cancer risk in the Multiethnic Cohort"
    The goal of this study is to examine the relationships of diet, metabolomics, gut microbiome, body composition, and obesity to cancer risk.
    09/01/2012 – 08/31/18
  • C. Boushey, Co-Investigator; L. Le Marchand, PI
    UM1 CA164973
    "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 – 08/31/2017

Recently Completed Grants

  • C. Boushey, Director, Nutrition Support Shared Resource; R. Holcombe, PI
    P30 CA071789
    "University of Hawaii Cancer Center CCSG"
    NCI's Cancer Centers Program for Cancer Center Support Grants (CCSGs)
    07/01/2012 – 06/30/2017
  • C. Boushey, Co-Investigator; R. Novotny, PI
    "Children's Healthy Living Program for Remote Underserved Minority Populations in the Pacific Region"
    This study aims to prevent young child obesity in the context of a health-promoting environment.
  • C. Boushey, Co-Investigator; Grattan, PI
    R01 ES012459 NIEHS
    "Domoic acid neurotoxicity in Native Americans"
    Prospective study examining association of domoic acid and neurotoxicity among three Pacific Northwest Tribal Nations.
    04/01/2012 – 02/28/2017