University of Southern California

Center for Religion & Civic Culture

Donna Spruijt-Metz

Image of Donna Spruijt-Metz Dr. Donna Spruijt-Metz’ research focuses on pediatric obesity, and is particularly concerned with understanding how Health modalities can be harnessed to influence psychosocial, metabolic and environmental factors to treat and prevent childhood obesity. She holds four master's degrees; two in music, one in creative writing, and one in psychological research methods and has published over 130 peer reviewed articles. She received her PhD in Adolescent Medicine and Medical Ethics from the Vrije Universitiet Amsterdam. She is Associate Professor University of Southern California’s Department of Preventive Medicine and Director, Responsible Conduct in Research for the Keck School of Medicine.

Some of her recent studies include a longitudinal study of the impact of puberty on insulin dynamics, mood and physical activity in minority girls (funded by NCI), a study examining the impact of simple carbohydrate versus complex carbohydrate meals on behavior, insulin dynamics, select gut peptides, and psychosocial measures in overweight minority youth (funded by NCHMD), and 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 (funded by NCHMD). KNOWME Networks has won several prizes and received national attention.

Additionally,  she has used media-based interventions to reduce sedentary behavior in middle school minority females, and recently completed the Wellness Partners project with Gotsis (PI, funded by RWJ), 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 and to engage people in their own data. Her research centers around using new technologies to understand health-related behaviors in real time and to intervene adaptively to support lasting changes in obesity through changes in societal norms, built and perceived environments, and behavior.
CRCC Events