Marissa Shams-White, Ph.D., M.S.T.O.M., M.S., M.P.H.

Program Director
Risk Factor Assessment Branch, Epidemiology and Genomics Research Program

Telephone: (240) 276-7654
Fax: (240) 276-7906

  • Ph.D. – Nutritional Epidemiology, Tufts University
  • M.S. – Nutritional Epidemiology, Tufts University
  • M.P.H. – Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Tufts University
  • M.S. – Traditional Oriental Medicine, Pacific College of Oriental Medicine
  • B.S. – Health Sciences, Ithaca College
Contact for questions about:
  • Dietary patterns
  • Dietary assessment
  • Dietary measurement error
  • Sleep assessment
  • Food environment
  • Obesity policy research


Dr. Shams-White is a Program Director in the Risk Factor Assessment Branch (RFAB) of the Epidemiology and Genomics Research Program (EGRP) in NCI’s Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences (DCCPS). In this role, she supports work in dietary patterns; measures for diet and sleep assessment, including screeners; the emerging areas of systems science and the measurement of the 24-hour behavior pattern (including diet, sleep, and physical activity); measurement error; and obesity policy research.

Dr. Shams-White’s scientific interests include index development for lifestyle measures. She led a team of experts in the development of the 2018 World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research (WCRF/AICR) Score. As a nutritional epidemiologist, she is also interested in examining the association between dietary quality and obesity and cancer risk, as well as conducting methodological work related to dietary patterns.

Prior to joining EGRP, Dr. Shams-White was a Cancer Prevention Fellow at NCI. She was also an adjunct professor for the University of New England College of Graduate and Professional Studies in the Applied Nutrition program in Portland, ME. Prior to pursuing her education at Tufts University, she was also an acupuncturist.

Select Publications

Shams-White MM, Romaguera D, Mitrou P, Reedy J, Bender A, Brockton N. Further guidance in implementing the standardized 2018 World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research (WCRF/AICR) Score. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2020 May;29(5):889-894.

Shams-White MM, Chui K, Deuster PA, McKeown NM, Must A. Comparison of Anthropometric Measures in US Military Personnel in the Classification of Overweight and Obesity. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2020 Feb;28(2):362-370.

Katz DL, Karlsen MC, Chung M, Shams-White MM, Green LW, Fielding J, Saito A, Willett W. Hierarchies of evidence applied to lifestyle Medicine (HEALM): introduction of a strength-of-evidence approach based on a methodological systematic review. BMC Med Res Methodol; 2019 Aug 20;19(1):178.

Shams-White MM, Brockton N, Mitrou P, Romaguera D, Brown S, Bender A, Kahle LL, Reedy J. Operationalizing the 2018 World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research (WCRF/AICR) Cancer Prevention Recommendations: A Standardized Scoring System. Nutrients. 2019 Jul 12;11(7):1572.

Shams-White MM, Cuccia A, Ona F, Bullock S, Chui K, McKeown N, Must A. Lessons Learned From the Creating Active Communities and Healthy Environments (CACHE) Toolkit Pilot: A Qualitative Study. Environ Health Insights. 2019 Jul 12;13:1178630219862231.

Shams-White MM, Chui K, Deuster PA, McKeown NM, Must A. Investigating items to improve the validity of the five-item healthy eating score compared with the 2015 Healthy Eating Index in a military populationNutrients. 2019 Jan 23;11(2). pii: E251.

Shams-White M, Deuster P. Obesity Prevention in the MilitaryCurr Obes Rep. 2017 Jun;6(2): 155-162.

Wang DD, Shams-White M, Bright OJ, Parrott JS, Chung M. Creating a literature database of low-calorie sweeteners and health studies: evidence mappingBMC Med Res Methodol. 2016 Jan 5;16(1):1.

Shams-White M, Kelly MJ, Gilhooly C, Liu S, Must A, Parsons SK, Saltzman E, Zhang FF. Food craving and obesity in survivors of pediatric ALL and lymphomaAppetite. 2016 Jan 1;96:1-6.