A multi-disciplinary, informal and free-flowing research environment

Donna Spruijt-Metz

Director, USC mHealth Collaboratory

Contact Information

Office: VPD 305D
Phone: (213) 821 1775
E-mail: dmetz@usc.edu


Curriculum Vitae
Personal Website
Virtual Sprouts
Workshop on New Technologies for Behavior Change

Biographical Sketch

Donna Spruijt-Metz joined CESR as Director of the new Mobile and Connected Health Program. She is also Adjunct Associate Professor at the USC Department of Preventive Medicine and Director of Responsible Conduct in Research at the Keck School of Medicine. Dr. Spruijt-Metz's research focuses on childhood obesity and mobile health technologies. Recent and current research includes: 1) a longitudinal study of the impact of puberty on insulin dynamics, mood and physical activity in African American and Latina girls, 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, 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, 4) Virtual Sprouts, a virtual, multiplatform gardening game designed to change dietary knowledge and behavior and prevent obesity in minority youth and 5) she is participating in Socially Assistive Robotics: An NSF Expedition in Computing, where she is working with a team of experts to engage robots to help overweight children exercise and adopt healthy eating habits. She is also PI of the Active NAO! project, which is using socially assistive robots and remote sensing to help overweight children to be more physically active. She recently led an NSF/EU/NIH-funded workshop in Brussels on building new computationally-enabled theoretical models to support health behavior change and maintenance. 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. 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.


  • Ph.D. Adolescent Health/Medical Ethics, University of Amsterdam, 1996
  • M.F.A. Creative Writing, Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles, 2006
  • MSci. Psychology (Research Methods), University of Amsterdam, 1991
  • M.F.A Flute (Pedagogy), Royal Conservatory Den Haag, 1980
  • M.F.A. Flute (Performance), California Institute of the Arts, 1976
  • B.F.A. Music, California Institute of the Arts, 1974

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