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Background and Education
Donna Spruijt-Metz is Co-Director and founder of the mHealth Collaboratory at the USC Dornsife Center for Economic and Social Research, and Research Professor of Psychology and Preventive Medicine at the University of Southern California. She is Director, Responsible Conduct in Research for the Keck School of Medicine, and Associate Editor for Pediatric Obesity (formerly International Journal of Pediatric Obesity)
Spruijt-Metz's research focuses on childhood obesity. She currently leads several studies, including: 1) a longitudinal study of the impact of puberty on insulin dynamics, mood and physical activity in African American and Latina girls (Spruijt-Metz. PI), as part of the USC Center for Transdisciplinary Research on Energetics and Cancer; 2) an observational in-lab study on the acute effects of sugar-laden diets on behavior, mood, and hormone levels in overweight Hispanic and African American youth, as part of the USC Minority Health Research Center of Excellence, 3) the KNOWME Networks project (with Shri Narayanan), developing Wireless Body Area Networks specifically for minority youth for non-intrusive monitoring of metabolic health, vital signs such as heart rate, and physical activity and other obesity-related behaviors, and real-time interventions to treat and prevent obesity. She has used media-based interventions to reduce sedentary behavior in middle school minority females, and recently completed the Wellness Partners project with Marientina Gotsis, developing and testing a mobile, socially networked game to promote physical activity in adults and families. She is also involved in studies using mobile technologies such as ecological momentary assessment to understand obesity-related behavior in youth. She has a deep interest in harnessing mobile health and new media modalities to bring researchers and researched systems into interaction, to engage people in their own data, and to bring about lasting change in obesity through changes in societal norms, built and perceived environments, and behavior. Her work is funded by NIDDK, NIDA, NCHMD, RWJ and NCI.
Spruijt-Metz holds master's degrees in Flute performance and teaching from California Institute of the Arts and the Royal Conservatory in The Hague, a masters degree in Creative Writing from Otis College of Art and Design, a masters degree in research methods from the University of Amsterdam and a Ph.D. in Adolescent Health and Medical Ethics from the Vrije Universiteit of Amsterdam. She is also a professional flutist, and has served on the Board of Directors of the Dutch National Flute Association.