Spees 825x990


Associate Professor 

Office: 306 Atwell Hall
Lab: 170 Atwell Hall
453 W. 10th Ave.
Columbus, Ohio 43210

Phone: (614) 266-9234
Email: spees.11@osu.edu

Primary Professional Areas of Interest

  • Nutrition security and food is medicine interventions 
  • Biobehavioral clinical trials in high-risk cohorts
  • Nutritional genomics and biomarkers of exposure

Research Focus

Dr. Colleen Spees serves as an Associate Professor in the Division of Medical Dietetics at The Ohio State University College of Medicine. She also holds joint academic appointments in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) and the College of Education and Human Ecology (EHE). In addition, she is a member of OSU’s prestigious Comprehensive Cancer Center. Her research laboratory focuses on evaluating biomarkers of biobehavorial interventions in vulnerable populations. Her currently funded projects include assessing modifiable lifestyle behaviors associated with low-resource families and cancer survivors at the Hope Gardens and testing the impact of nutritional counseling and medically-tailored meals for patients receiving lung cancer therapy.

Dr. Spees is co-author of two nutrition textbooks, Fellow of the American Heart Association and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, executive member the Academy’s National Nutrition Access and Cancer Health Outcomes Committee, recipient of the Distinguished Practice Award, Distinguished Service Award, and 3-time winner of the Award for Excellence in Oncology Nutrition Research. In 2020, she was appointed to the American Cancer Society (ACS) Scientific Guideline Panel for Dietary and Physical Activity for Cancer Prevention. She is currently serving on the ACS Scientific Guideline Panel for Cancer Survivorship.  

Recent Research

Rock CL, Thomson CA, Sullivan KR, Howe CL, Kushi LH, Caan BJ, Neuhouser ML, Bandera EV, Wang Y, Robien K, Basen-Engquist KM, Brown JC, Courneya KS, Crane TE, Garcia DO, Grant BL, Hamilton KK, Hartman SJ, Kenfield SA, Martinez ME, Meyerhardt J, Nekhlyudov L, Overholserr L, Patel A, Pinto B, Platek M, Rees-Punia E, Spees CK, Gapstur SM, McCullough ML. American Cancer Society nutrition and physical activity guideline for cancer survivors. CA Cancer J Clin. 2022. https://doi.org/10.3322/caac.21719
Trujillo E, Shapiro A, Stephens N, Johnson S, Mills J, Zimmerman A, Spees C. Monitoring Rates of Malnutrition Risk in Outpatient Cancer Centers Utilizing the Malnutrition Screening Tool Embedded into the Electronic Health Record. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2021 Jun; 121(5): 925-930. doi:10.1016/j.jand.2020.11.007. 
Good M, Braun AC, Taylor CA, Spees CK. US adults fall short of the dietary guidelines for cancer prevention regardless of BMI category. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2021; S2212-2672(21)00120-9. doi:10.1016/j.jand.2021.02.013

Smith A, Collene A, Spees CK. Contemporary Nutrition: A Functional Approach. 12th ed. Dubuque: McGraw-Hill Education. Jan 2021
Rock C, Thomson C, Gansler T, Gapstur S, McCullough M, Patel A, Andrews K, Bandera E, Spees C, Robien K, Hartman S, Sullivan K, Grant B, Hamilton K, Kushi LH, Caan B, Kibbe D, Donze Black J, Weidt T, McMahon C, Sloan K, Doyle C. American Cancer Society Guideline for Diet and Physical Activity for Cancer Prevention. CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. 2020 July; 70(4):245-271. doi:10.3322/caac.21591. PMID: 32515498. 

Trujillo E, Claghorn K, Dixon S, Hill E, Braun A, Lipinski E, Platek ME, Vergo M, Spees, CK. Inadequate Nutrition Coverage in Outpatient Cancer Centers: Results of a National Survey. J Onc. 2019 Nov; 3019. doi:10.1155/2019/1503195. PMID: 31885583.

Spees CK, Braun A, Hill E, Grainger E, Portner J, Young G, Chitchumroonchokchai C, Kleinhenz M, Clinton SK. Impact of a Tailored Nutrition and Lifestyle Intervention for Overweight Cancer Survivors on Dietary Patterns, Physical Activity, Quality of Life, and Cardiometabolic Profiles. J Onc. 2019 Nov; 2019. doi:10.1155/2019/1503195. PMID: 31871455.

Anderson CAM, Thorndike AN, Lichtenstein AH, Van Horn L, Kris-Etherton PM, Foraker R, Spees C. Innovation to create a healthy and sustainable food system: a science advisory from the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2019 Apr; 139:e000–e000. doi: 10.1161/CIR.0000000000000686. PMID: 31030543.


Recent Presentations

Obesity and Cancer. World Cancer Leaders' (WCLS) Summit. Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) with World Health Organization (WHO), International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). October 2023.

Integration of Food and Nutrition into Oncology Care: A medically tailored meal plus nutrition counseling intervention among patients with lung cancer. World Cancer Research Fund / American Institute for Cancer Research (WCRF/AICR) Lifestyle & Cancer Annual Symposium  - Innovation to Impact. April 2022.

Combination nutrition and physical activity intervention improves adherence to evidence-based guidelines and cardiovascular health in cancer survivors. International Society of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity xChange Initiative. June 2021.

Health Equity and the Cancer Care Continuum in Kentucky: Access to Medically Supportive Food and Nutrition. Kentucky Cancer Consortium. June 2021.

Lifestyle Recommendations for Hereditary Cancer Syndromes. Living Li Fraumeni Syndrome International Conference and Family Camp. Oct 2019.

Tele-Motivational Interviewing for Cancer Survivors: Feasibility, Preliminary Efficacy, and Lessons Learned. Presented at: Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior (SNEB) National Webinar; October 2019.

Recognizing Malnutrition and Recommendations for Interventions. Presented at: 24th National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) Nursing Program: Advancing Oncology Nursing; Orlando, FL, United States. March 2019. 

Does DNA = Destiny? Deciphering Evidence-Based Guidelines for Diet and Physical Activity. 2016 International Li-Fraumeni Syndrome Conference and 3rd Annual LiFE Consortium and LFS Association Conference. Columbus, OH. Invited Platform Presenter. Jun 2016. 

Courses Taught

  • Nutritional Genomics (MEDDIET 6900)
  • Evidence-based Practice (MEDDIET 6300)
  • Foundations of Research and Application (MEDDIET 6001/6002/6003)
  • Service-Learning in Vulnerable Communities (HTHRHSC 2300)


  • 1987: B.S., Allied Medical Professions and Medical Dietetics, The Ohio State University.
  • 1989: M.Ed., Health Promotion and Exercise Science, Vanderbilt University.
  • 2011: Ph.D., Health and Rehabilitation Sciences. The Ohio State University.