Hi, I'm Marie

I am an expert in public health nutrition and sustainable food systems. I am an Assistant Professor in the Program in Food Systems, Nutrition, and Health at the University of Washington School of Public Health. I am also affiliated with the UW Department of Epidemiology, UW Department of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences (DEOHS), the UW Center for Studies in Demography & Ecology (CSDE), the UW Center for One Health Research, and the UW Food Systems Research and Education Network

I approach public health nutrition research through a food systems lens that recognizes the need for transdisciplinary and multisectoral collaboration. My research focuses on food security and its upstream determinants in the food system including supply chains, infrastructure, policy, and governance. My work also includes mapping and modeling food systems as complex systems, understanding and reducing food loss and waste, and building capacity for collaboration within public health, nutrition, and food systems.  To explore these topics, I draw from training in quantitative and qualitative research and systems science, as well as my training as a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN).

Previously, I have conducted research as a Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future Lerner Fellow, as a Senior Analyst at the Global Obesity Prevention Center at Johns Hopkins, and as an Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation Fellow. I have received the Mary P. Huddleson Award, the Abell Award in Urban Policy, and the Gordis Teaching Fellowship. I'm a graduate of the University of Washington (BS/BA) and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (PhD, MSPH, and dietetics training).

Reach me at mspiker [at] uw.edu

I conduct research on food systems, nutrition, and health

How can  food systems research consider both the environment and nutrition?

Click image to access The Importance of Food Systems and the Environment for Nutrition by Jess Fanzo and colleagues

How can food systems diplomacy balance health, social, environmental, and economic considerations?

Click image to access Food Systems Governance Should Be Preceded By Food Systems Diplomacy by Divya Garg et al., led by Jen Otten

What is systems thinking, and how can it be applied to the prevention of chronic diet-related disease?

Click image to access A Systems Approach to Obesity by Bruce Y. Lee and colleagues

Including research on how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected food systems

How did the COVID-19 pandemic affect food production, food supply chains, and food access in Washington State, and what's next?

Click image to access The State of the Washington State Food System during COVID-19 by Jen Otten, Sarah Collier, Marie Spiker, and colleagues

How did Washington State small and directly-marketing farmers display the characteristics of food systems resilience during the pandemic?

Click image to access A Qualitative Investigation of Resilience Among Small Farms in Western Washington State by Dani Ladyka et al., led by Sarah Collier

How did Washington State WIC clinics adapt in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, and what lessons can be learned going forward?

Click image to access Insights from Washington State's COVID-19 Response: A Mixed-Methods Evaluation of WIC Remote Services and Expanded Food Options by Evelyn Morris et al., led by Jen Otten

I use simulation modeling, and other tools designed for complexity, to aid public health decision-making

How can increased vegetable production without supply chain improvements lead to more food waste?

Click image to access When increasing vegetable production may worsen food availability gaps: A Simulation model in India by Marie Spiker and colleagues

What role can drones play in delivering vaccines and other medical products in remote areas? 

Click image to access The Economic and operational value of using drones to transport vaccines by Leila Haidari and colleagues

How do foodborne illness outbreaks contribute to operating costs for restaurants?

Click image to access Estimated cost to a restaurant of a foodborne illness outbreak by Sarah Bartsch, Bruce Y. Lee, and colleagues

I also conduct research on food loss and waste throughout food systems

What is the nutrient content of the food we waste in the United States?

Click image to access Wasted Food, Wasted Nutrients: Nutrient Loss From Wasted Food in the US by Marie Spiker and colleagues

How do American households think about and participate in food waste?

Click image to access Wasted Food: US Consumers' Reported Awareness, Attitudes, and Behaviors by Roni Neff and colleagues

How do consumers interpret date labels, and does that affect how much food they waste?

Click image to access Misunderstood Date Labels and Reported Food Discards: US Consumer Attitudes by Roni Neff and colleagues

And I work on building capacity for a food systems workforce among public health professionals

What are sustainable, resilient, and healthy food and water systems, and how can dietitians develop skills in this area?

Click image to access Standards of Professional Performance for Dietitians in Sustainable Food Systems by Marie Spiker and colleagues

How can the profession of nutrition and dietetics scale its impact on sustainable food systems?

Click image to access Cultivating Sustainable Food Systems: A Nutrition-Focused Framework for Action by Marie Spiker and colleagues

How can we leverage online learning strategies to incorporate systems thinking into food systems education?

Click image to access Leveraging Online Learning to Promote Systems Thinking for Sustainable Food Systems Training in Dietetics Education by Marie Spiker and colleagues