Dr. Linda Sprague Martinez Named Director of the Health Disparities Institute at UConn Health
The Health Disparities Institute at UConn Health has a new leader, Dr. Linda Sprague Martinez, who also joins as an affiliate faculty member in the UConn School of Social Work. Dr. Sprague Martinez comes from Boston University, where she was an associate professor and former chair of the macro department at the Boston University School of Social Work, as well as a faculty affiliate with the Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases Policy and Research at Boston University.
At Boston University, she taught community planning, assessment and analysis, and interventions to advance health equity and applied community-engaged research. She was also the co-director of the Boston University NIH-funded Clinical Translational Science Institute Community Engagement Program at the Boston University School of Medicine.
Dr. Bruce T. Liang, Dean of the School of Medicine and interim CEO of UConn Health, expressed excitement about welcoming Dr. Sprague Martinez to Connecticut and UConn School of Medicine. Her background includes work in municipal and state governance and as an adolescent mental health provider, bringing valuable experience in community collaborations to engage diverse communities of color and low-income residents in community planning and intervention development.
Dr. Sprague Martinez’s research interests focus on improving living environments and health through community and youth-engaged research methods like photovoice, community assessment, and mobilization. Her work has received funding from federal agencies and foundations, and she has been published in prominent journals. She is the co-director of the Community Engagement Core for the Healing Communities Study in Massachusetts and was honored with the 2023 inaugural NIH HEAL Director’s Award for Community Partnerships. Recently, she was appointed to a National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine committee to work on a definition for long COVID.
About UConn Health Disparities Institute
The Health Disparities Institute at UConn Health is committed to producing evidence-for-action and implementing strategies designed to eliminate health disparities and advance health equity among Connecticut’s minority and medically underserved populations. The institute emphasizes deepening community engagement and cultivating cross-sector collaborations to achieve its goals.
About Dr. Linda Sprague Martinez
Dr. Linda Sprague Martinez, Ph.D., serves as a professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of Connecticut’s School of Medicine and is the Director of the Health Disparities Institute at UConn Health. She is also a faculty affiliate at UConn School of Social Work. Dr. Sprague Martinez specializes in health equity and the social determinants of health, community-based participatory research (CBPR), and youth-led participatory action research (YPAR). Her methods include photovoice, community assessment and mobilization, and qualitative research methods and analyses.
With a background in municipal and state governance and experience as an adolescent mental health provider, Dr. Sprague Martinez is adept at cross-sector collaborations and resident engagement. She was honored in 2017 by the Boston Housing Authority’s Center for Community Engagement and Civil Rights Resident Empowerment Coalition. In 2023, she received the NIH HEAL Director’s Award for Community Partnerships for her work with the Healing Communities Study. Her research has been funded by NIH, OBSSR, PCORI, and local foundations.