Spees 825x990


Associate Professor 

Office: 306 Atwell Hall
Lab: 170 Atwell Hall
453 W. 10th Ave.
Columbus, Ohio 43210

Phone: (614) 266-9234
Email: spees.11@osu.edu

Primary Professional Areas of Interest

  • Garden-based biobehavioral interventions for high-risk populations
  • Nutritional genomics
  • Cancer prevention and survivorship
  • Food insecurity and chronic disease

Research Focus

Dr. Colleen Spees serves as an Associate Professor in the Division of Medical Dietetics & Health Sciences at The Ohio State University College of Medicine. She holds Courtesy Academic Appointments in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) and the College of Education and Human Ecology (EHE). In addition, she is a member of OSU’s prestigious Comprehensive Cancer Center. Her research laboratory focuses on evaluating biomarkers of biobehavorial interventions in vulnerable populations. Her currently funded projects include assessing modifiable lifestyle behaviors associated with low-resource families and cancer survivors at the Garden of Hope.

Dr. Spees is a Fellow of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, executive member the Academy’s Nutrition Access and Cancer Health Outcomes Committee, recipient of the 2016 Distinguished Practice Award, and 3-time winner of the Award for Excellence in Oncology Nutrition Research. In 2017, she was awarded the Outstanding Young Investigator of the Year Award from OSU’s College of Medicine and was appointed to the American Cancer Society’s Guidelines for Dietary and Physical Activity for Cancer Prevention and Survivorship. 

Recent Research

Spees CK, Hill E, White S, Grainger E, Kleinhenz M, Buell J, Weiss R, Gildersleeve R, Clinton SK. Feasibility, preliminary efficacy, and lessons learned from a garden-based lifestyle intervention for cancer survivors. Cancer Control. 2016 Jul; 23(3)302-10. PMID: 27556671.

Spees CK, Alwood A, Wolf KN, Rusnak S, Taylor CA. Poor adherence to preventive healthcare and cancer screening guidelines among food pantry clients. Hunger Environ Nutr. 2016 Apr; 12(1):123-35. doi: 10.1080/19320248.2015.1095143.

Spees CK, Joseph A, Darragh A, Lyons F, Wolf KN. Health behaviors and perceptions of cancer survivors harvesting at an urban garden. Am J Health Behav. 2015 Mar;39(2):257-66. doi: 10.5993/AJHB.39.2.12. PMID: 25564838.

Recent Presentations

Does DNA = Destiny? Deciphering Evidence-Based Guidelines for Diet and Physical Activity. 2016 International Li-Fraumeni Syndrome Conference and 3rd Annual LiFE Consortium and LFS Association Conference. Columbus, OH. Invited Platform Presenter. Jun 2016. 

Research that Matters: Food Insecurity, Community Engagement and Impact. The New Face of Food Insecurity. Food Security and Sustainability Institute. University of South Florida, College of Public Health, Tampa FL. Invited Keynote. Apr 2016.

Growing Hope for Cancer Survivors. BRUTx, Center for Clinical and Translational Sciences Annual Meeting, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH. Invited presenter. Invited Platform Presenter. Oct 2015. http://go.osu.edu/spees

Courses Taught

  • Nutritional Genomics (MEDDIET 6900)
  • Evidence-based Practice (MEDDIET 6300)
  • Foundations of Research and Application (MEDDIET 6001/6002/6003)
  • Service-Learning in Vulnerable Communities (HTHRHSC 2300)
  • Advanced Human Nutrition and Metabolism (MEDDIET 3100)
  • Case Studies in Health Sciences (HTHRHSC 5350)


  • 1987: B.S., Allied Medical Professions and Medical Dietetics, The Ohio State University.
  • 1989: M.Ed., Health Promotion and Exercise Science, Vanderbilt University.
  • 2011: Ph.D., Health and Rehabilitation Sciences. The Ohio State University.
My Research Links

My Research Links

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