Dr. Linda Sprague Martinez Named Director of the Health Disparities Institute at UConn Health

The Health Disparities Institute at UConn Health is now led by Director Dr. Linda Sprague Martinez, also a newly appointed affiliate faculty member in the UConn School of Social Work.

Dr. Linda Sprague Martinez, is the newly appointed director of the Health Disparities Institute at UConn Health. (Tina Encarnacion/UConn Health Photo)

Dr. Linda Sprague Martinez  is UConn Health and UConn School of Medicine’s new director of the Health Disparities Institute at UConn Health. She is also newly appointed as an affiliate faculty member of the UConn School of Social Work.

She joins from Boston University where she served as associate professor and former chair of the Macro Department at the Boston University School of Social Work and a faculty affiliate with the Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases Policy and Research. At Boston University, she taught community planning, assessment, and analysis as well as interventions to advance health equity and applied community engaged research. In addition, she was co-director of the Boston University NIH-funded Clinical Translational Science Institute Community Engagement Program at the Boston University School of Medicine.

“We are excited to welcome Dr. Sprague Martinez to Connecticut and UConn School of Medicine in her leadership role as director of our dedicated Health Disparities Institute at UConn Health,” shared Dr. Bruce T. Liang, dean of the School of Medicine and Interim CEO of UConn Health. “Having formerly worked in municipal and state governance, and as an adolescent mental health provider, she brings to UConn Health and the Greater Hartford Area practical expertise in community collaborations designed to engage diverse communities of color and low-income residents in community planning and intervention development.”

Sprague Martinez is past recipient of Boston Housing Authority, Center for Community Engagement and Civil Rights, Resident Empowerment Coalition, Resident Empowerment Honoree for her work engaging public housing residents and graduate students in community planning.

In addition, Sprague Martinez has an active community engaged research portfolio. Her scholarly interests are centered on research and action approaches to improve living environments and health. She has expertise in community, student- and youth-engaged research; photovoice; community assessment and mobilization; and qualitative research methods.

Her community and youth engaged work has been funded by federal agencies as well as foundations and has been published in journals such as the American Journal of Public Health, Health Affairs, Clinical and Translational Science and Progress in Community Health Partnerships. Sprague Martinez is co-director of the Community Engagement Core for the HEALing Communities Study, Massachusetts and received the 2023 Inaugural NIH HEAL Directors Award for Community Partnerships. She is also funded by MassCPR to lead research and action to advance equity in access Long COVID treatment and information. Recently, she was appointed to a National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, Medicine committee working on a definition for “Long COVID.”

A first-generation college student, Sprague Martinez grew up in Southern New Hampshire receiving her B.A from the University of New Hampshire, M.A in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Rivier College, M.A and Ph.D. in Social Policy from the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University.