Donna Spruijt-Metz


Research Professor of Psychology and Preventive Medicine, Director of the USC mHealth Collaboratory, Director Responsible Conduct of Research

Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
Keck School of Medicine

Research Topics

  • Childhood obesity
  • Health disparities
  • physical activity and diet
  • Mobile Health (mHealth)

Research Overview

Donna Spruijt-Metz is Director of the USC mHealth Collaboratory at the University of Southern California’s Center for Economic and Social Research, and Professor of Research in Psychology and Preventive Medicine. Her research focuses on childhood obesity and mobile health technologies, and she works predominantly with minority populations. In 2015, she received the Obesity Society’s eHealth/mHealth Pioneer Award for Excellence in the Field. Her main interests include using mobile technologies to develop data sets that combine sensor and self-report data that is continuous, temporally rich, contextualized. Using this data along with innovative modeling techniques, she wants to develop dynamic, contextualized mathematical models of health-related behavior. She was one of the first to undertake a just-in-time, adaptive intervention (JITAI) in youth, and envisions most or all interventions being JITAI in the future. She is PI of Virtual Sprouts, a virtual, multiplatform gardening game designed to change dietary knowledge and behavior and prevent obesity in minority youth. She also leads a new project, the Monitoring & Modeling Family Eating Dynamics (M2FED) project, funded by NSF She led an NSF/EU/NIH-funded workshop in Brussels on building new computationally-enabled theoretical models to support health behavior change and maintenance in 2012. This workshop led to several publications, and a host of new collaborations. In September, she led a follow-up NSF-funded international workshop in London. Her work meshes 21st century technologies with transdisciplinary metabolic, behavioral and environmental research in order to facilitate the development of dynamic, personalized, contextualized behavioral interventions that can be adapted on the fly.