Chelsia Gillis

Assistant Professor
Director of Perioperative Medical Research, Peri Operative Program, McGill University Health Center
Associate Member in Surgery and Anesthesia

T: (514) 398-7905 | chelsia.gillis [at] (Email) | Macdonald-Stewart Bldg MS2-038 | Website | Biosketch | Twitter


BSc, Food and Nutrition, University of Prince Edward Island
MSc, Human Nutrition, McGill University
PhD, Community Health Sciences, Epidemiology, University of Calgary
Postdoctoral Fellowship, Anesthesia, McGill University


Currently recruiting MSc Thesis and PhD students, Registered Dietitian an asset.

Short Bio

Dr. Chelsia Gillis is an Assistant Professor in the School of Human Nutrition in the Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at McGill University. Dr. Gillis is a Registered Dietitian, Certified Nutrition Support Clinician®, and Vanier Scholar with a MSc in Human Nutrition from McGill University and a PhD in Epidemiology from the University of Calgary.

Dr. Gillis’ research program aims to improve surgical patient outcomes by generating evidence-based knowledge and translating findings into clinical practice to enhance healthcare services in Canada. Her research interests include prehabilitation, Enhanced Recovery After Surgery, surgical metabolism, and patient engagement. Prehabilitation is a paradigmatic shift in the usual care of surgical patients that capitalizes on surgical wait times to correct modifiable risk factors, including malnutrition, to enhance recovery. Dr. Gillis’ innovative approach challenges current “siloed” nutritional assessment techniques through the creation of surgery-specific tools that integrate both etiologic and phenotypic assessments of malnutrition with physical function to provide personalized, targeted care that ensures the right patient receives the right care at the right time. Dr. Gillis has received research grants as Principal Investigator from the Canadian Foundation for Dietetic Research, American Society for Parenteral Enteral Nutrition, and European Society for Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism.

Awards and Recognitions

PhD Dissertation Award from the Canadian Nutrition Society for “Recovery Begins Before the Surgical Incision”
Postdoctoral Fellowship, Canadian Institutes of Health Research
Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship, Canadian Institutes of Health Research

Active Affiliations

Dietitians of Canada
Canadian Nutrition Society
European Society for Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism
International Prehabilitation Society
American Society for Parenteral Enteral Nutrition

Research Interests

Dr. Chelsia Gillis’ research focuses on Prehabilitation: A preoperative intervention that includes exercise, nutrition, and psychological strategies to prepare patients for the stress of surgery.

Current Research

  1. Multimodal prehabilitation and analgesia: A pragmatic randomized controlled trial on the effect of preoperative exercise with nutrition optimization on postsurgical pain intensity in vulnerable populations
  2. Is correction of malnutrition sufficient to improve low physical function before elective colorectal cancer surgery? A randomized controlled trial of nutrition vs. nutrition and exercise prehabilitation.
  3. Virtual prehabilitation for surgical cancer patients: A feasibility study
  4. Standards for reporting research methods, interventions and Outcomes in Surgical Prehabilitation (SOS-Prehab)
  5. Defining prehabilitation success: A mixed methods evaluation of stakeholder perspectives and priorities.
  6. Development and validation of the Preoperative Dietary Screener


NUTR 545 Clinical Nutrition 2 4 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

EXSU 610 Surgical Outcomes Res Fndns 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer


To view a list of Dr. Gillis' publications, click here.


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