Dr. Heather Keller

PhD (Western), RD (Registered Dietitian), FDC (Fellow of Dietitians of Canada)
Schlegel Research Chair in Nutrition & Aging
Department of Kinesiology, University of Waterloo



Dr. Keller’s research programs cross the continuum of care and are focused on improving the nutritional status and food intake of older adults. Four areas are emphasized:  nutrition care processes (e.g. screening programs), meal quality (e.g. menu planning, food fortification, pureed food), meal access (e.g. family/volunteer eating assistance), and mealtime experience (e.g. Eating Together Study).

As Chair of the Canadian Malnutrition Task Force (CMTF), Heather leads an interprofessional team focused on improving the identification and treatment of malnutrition in the acute care setting. Current projects involve knowledge translation focused on improving care processes resulting from findings of the Nutrition Care in Canadian Hospitals study. A nutrition care pathway and support resources (eg. mealtime audit tool) are currently being content validated.

Heather also leads the Making the Most of Mealtimes (M3) research program focused on improving food intake in residents living in long term care. An interprofessional team from across Canada will conduct the most comprehensive prevalence study that identify determinants of food intake amenable to change. This will lay the foundation for M3 intervention research in LTC.

As a scientist with the Agri-food for Healthy Aging research group, she has conducted research with Drs. Duizer, Duncan and Stark focused on improving pureed food and fortifying food products for residents in LTC.

Nutrition risk screening tools (Canadian Nutrition Screening Tool and SCREENIII) have recently been validated, supporting efficient screening in hospital and community settings. Nutri-eSCREEN, a self-management site for older adults based on SCREENII is in the process of being evaluated.

Future planned endeavours include translation of the Life Nourishment Theory resulting from the Eating Together study into education programs for family and formal care partners for persons with dementia.

Key Publications

Keller H. Nutri-eSCREEN®: Descriptive analysis of a self-management site for older adults (50+ years). BMC Nutrition 2016 DOI: 10.1186/s40795-015-0041-7

Lam ITY, Pfisterer K, Duizer L, Stark K, Duncan AM, Keller HH. Micronutrient fortification in residential care: a scoping review of current interventions. JAMDA 2016;17(7):588-95.

Pfisterer KJ, Sharratt MT, Heckman G, Keller HH. Vitamin B12 status in older adults living in Ontario long-term care homes: prevalence and incidence of deficiency with supplementation as a protective factor. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab.  2016 Feb;41(2):219-22. doi: 10.1139/apnm-2015-0565.

Allard JP, Keller H, Jeejeebhoy KN, Laprote M, Duerksen DR, Gramlich L, Payette H, Bernier P, Davidson B, Teterina A, Lou W. (accepted Jan 2015). Decline in nutritional status is associated with prolonged length of stay in hospitalized patients admitted for 7 days or more: a prospective cohort study. Clinical Nutrition. Epub Jan 21 doi:10.106/j.clnu.2015.01.009.

Ducak K, Keller H., Sweatman, G. Dining culture change in long-term care homes: Transitioning to resident-centered and relational meals. Annals of Long Term Care: Clinical Care and Aging. 2015;23(6)28-36.

Keller H, Allard J, Vesnaver E, Laporte M, Gramlich L, Bernier P., Davidson B, Duerksen D, Jeejeebhoy K, Payette H. Barriers to food intake in acute care hospitals: a report of the Canadian Malnutrition Task Force. J Hum Nutr Dietetics 2015 doi:10.1111/jhn.12314.

Keller H, Beck AM, Namasivayam A, for the International-Dining in Nursing home Experts (I-DINE) Consortium. Improving food and fluid intake for older adults living in long term care: A research agenda. J Am Med Directors Assoc JAMDA 2015;16(2):93-100.

Lam IT, Keller HH, Duizer L, Stark K. Micronutrients on the Menu: Enhancing the Quality of Food in Long-term Care for Regular, Nontherapeutic Menus. Canadian Journal of Dietetic Practice and Research 76.2 (2015): 1-7. (epub ahead of print)

Keller, H., Carrier, N., Duizer, L., Lengyel, C., Slaughter, S., Steele, C. (2014). Making the Most of Mealtimes (M3): grounding mealtime interventions with a conceptual model. Journal of the American Medical Directors Association. (invited editorial) JAMDA 15(3):158-161.

Cheung G, Pizzola L, Keller H. Dietary, food service, and mealtime interventions to promote food intake in acute care adult patients. J Nutr Gerontol Geriatr. 2013;32(3):175-212.

Henkusens C, Keller H, Dupuis S, Schindel Martin L. Transitions to Long-Term Care: How Do Families Living With Dementia Experience Mealtimes After Relocating? J Appl Gerontol. 2013 Dec 30. [Epub ahead of print]

Osinga N, Keller H. Dietetic students’ experiences providing meal assistance in long-term care facilities. Can J Diet Pract Res. 2013;74(2):88-91.

Pizzola L, Martos Z, Pfisterer K, de Groot L, Keller H. Construct validation and test-retest reliability of a mealtime satisfaction questionnaire for retirement home residents. J Nutr Gerontol Geriatr. 2013;32(4):343-59.

Shatenstein, B., Gauvin, L., Keller, H, Richard, L., Gaudreau, P., Giroux, F., Gray-Donald, K., Jabbour, M., Morais, J.A., Payette, H. Baseline determinants of global diet quality in older men and women from the NuAge cohort. J Nutr Health Aging. 2013;17(5): 419-425.

Keller, H.H, Chambers, L.W., Niezgoda, H.E., Duizer, L. (2012) . Issues associated with the use of modified texture food. Journal of Nutrition, Health and Aging. 16 (3): 195-200.

Reimer, H., Keller, H.H., & Tindale, J. (2012). Learning you are at ‘nutrition risk': seniors’ experiences of nutrition screening. European Journal of Aging, 9, 81-89.

Vesnaver, E., Keller, H., Payette, H., Shatenstein, B. (2012). Dietary Resilience as Described by Older Community-Dwelling Adults from the NuAge study “If there is a will – there is a way!”. Appetite 58:730-738.

Ducak, K., Keller, H.H. Menu Planning in Long-Term Care: Towards Resident-Centred Menus. Canadian Journal of Dietetic Practice and Research. 2011; 72(2): e125-e133 (electronic only).

Vesnaver E, Keller H.H. Social influences and eating behaviour in later life: A review. Journal of Nutrition, Gerontology and Geriatrics. 2011;30(1):2-23.


Contact Information

Department of Kinesiology
University of Waterloo
200 University Ave West
Waterloo, ON N2L 3G1

Email: hkeller@uwaterloo.ca
Phone: (519) 888-4567 ext. 31761