Director, USC mHealth Collaboratory
Donna Spruijt-Metz joined USC’s Center for Economic and Social Research August 2013. In August of 2014, She and Bill Swarthout founded the USC mHealth Collaboratory. She is Research Professor in Psychology and Director of Responsible Conduct in Research at the USC Keck School of Medicine. Her work meshes 21st century technologies with transdisciplinary metabolic, behavioral and environmental research to facilitate 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, engage people in their own data, and bring about lasting change in obesity and public health. One primary focus is combining sensor and self-report data that is continuous, temporally rich, contextualized. Using data and innovative modeling techniques, Spruijt-Metz aims to collaborate with engineers, health professionals, and data modelers to create new mathematical models of human health-related behavior in real time. She is one of the first to undertake a just-in-time, adaptive intervention (JITAI) in youth, and envisions most or all future interventions being JITAI.
Recent and current projects include: 1) a longitudinal study of the impact of puberty on insulin dynamics, mood and physical activity in African American and Latina girls, 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, USC Minority Health Research Center of Excellence, 3) KNOWME Networks project, Wireless Body Area Networks for minority youth for non-intrusive monitoring of metabolic health, vital signs and physical activity, and real-time interventions, 4) Virtual Sprouts, a virtual, multiplatform gardening game designed to change dietary knowledge and behavior and prevent obesity in minority youth and 5) Socially Assistive Robotics: an NSF Expedition in Computing, which engages robots to help overweight children exercise and adopt healthy eating habits. She is PI of the Active NAO! project, where socially assistive robots and remote sensing help overweight children become more physically active. She led an NSF/EU/NIH-funded workshop in Brussels on building new computationally-enabled theoretical models to support health behavior change and maintenance.
Co-director, USC mHealth Collaboratory
Bill Swartout is Chief Technology Officer, USC Institute for Creative Technologies. He has been involved in the research and development of artificial intelligence (AI) systems for more than 30 years. He is Chief Technology Officer at the USC Institute for Creative Technologies and a research professor in the computer science department at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering. His research interests include virtual humans, explanation and text generation, knowledge acquisition, knowledge representation, intelligent computer-based education and the development of new AI architectures. At ICT, Swartout provides overall direction for research programs. He is the ICT PI on the New Dimensions in Testimony project, a collaboration with the Shoah Foundation, which is developing a new, interactive approach to preserving Holocaust survivor testimony.
He leads the Personal Assistant for Life-Long Learning project, charged with creating virtual human mentors to help sailors manage their training and transition from classroom-based instruction to fleet-based operations. He led the National Science Foundation-funded Museum Guides project, which brought ICT-created virtual humans to the Museum of Science, Boston. Another project he oversaw, the Mission Rehearsal Exercise project, was awarded outstanding innovation from the National Training and Simulation Association and first place for innovative application of agent technology at the 2001 International Conference on Autonomous Agents. Swartout received the Robert Engelmore Award from the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) in 2009 for seminal contributions to knowledge-based systems and explanation, groundbreaking research on virtual human technologies, and outstanding service to the AI community.
He is a Fellow of the AAAI, has served on its Board of Councilors, and is past chair of the Special Interest Group on AI (SIGART) of the Association for Computing Machinery. He has served as a member of the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board, the Board on Army Science and Technology of the National Academies and the JFCOM Transformation Advisory Group. Prior to joining ICT in 1999, Swartout was director of the Intelligent Systems Division at the USC Information Sciences Institute. He received his Ph.D. and M.S. in computer science from MIT and his bachelor’s degree from Stanford University.