Linda S. Sprague Martinez, Ph.D. University of Connecticut

Linda S. Sprague Martinez, Ph.D.

Director, UConn Health Disparities Institute

  • Farmington CT UNITED STATES
  • Health Disparities Institute, UConn Health
  • Department of Medicine

Linda Sprague Martinez, Ph.D. has expertise in health equity and the social determinants of health.

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Linda Sprague Martinez, Ph.D. (she, her, hers), is a professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of Connecticut’s School of Medicine, the director of the Health Disparities Institute at UConn Health, and a faculty affiliate at the UConn School of Social Work.

Dr. Sprague Martinez has expertise in health equity and the social determinants of health; community-based participatory research (CBPR) and youth-led participatory action research (YPAR); photovoice; community assessment and mobilization; and qualitative research methods and analyses. Having formerly worked in municipal and state governance, and as an adolescent mental health provider, Dr. Sprague Martinez brings practical expertise in cross sector collaborations and resident engagement.

She was a 2017 Boston Housing Authority, Center for Community Engagement and Civil Rights, Resident Empowerment Coalition, Resident Empowerment Honoree. In 2023, Dr. Sprague Martinez 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 and PCORI, as well as by local foundations.

Areas of Expertise

Health Disparities
Health Equity
Community Health
Social Determinants of Health
Community Engagement
Participatory Research


Brandeis University


Social Policy

Brandeis University


Social Policy

Rivier College


Clinical Mental Health Counseling

University of New Hampshire


Political Science


Honorable Mention for the Marie O. Weil Best Article Award, Journal of Community Practice

Association of Community Organizing and Social Action

HEAL Director's Awardee for Community Partnership, Helping to End Addiction Long-term® Initiative

National Institutes of Health

2023 Society for Social Work Research Fellow

Society for Social Work Research

Mentoring Award, Council of Social Work Education

Council on the Role and Status of Women in Social Work Education

Resident Empowerment Honoree, Boston Housing Authority

Center for Community Engagement and Civil Rights

Multicultural Service Award, Tufts University

Arts, Sciences, and Engineering Equal Educational Opportunity Committee

Outstanding Commitment to Providing Access to Services in Communities of Color

State of New Hampshire, Department of Health and Human Services



Media Appearances

In communities of color, long-covid patients are tired of being sick and neglected

The Washington Post  print


“People had all these things happening in their body, but they hadn’t heard the term ‘long covid’ from a provider,” said Linda Sprague Martinez, a professor and health equity researcher who has studied the impact of long covid on Black and Latino communities in Massachusetts. As part of her research, Sprague Martinez’s team conducted 11 focus groups last year: two in English and nine total in Spanish, Portuguese, Haitian Creole and Cape Verdean Creole. In the focus groups not conducted in English, she said, they found that most people had not heard of long covid before that day. The main culprit, she said: a lack of medical information in languages other than English, and language barriers at health-care facilities and online.

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Experts declare Long COVID a public health crisis rife with equity issues in dire need of support, attention

WAMC - Northeast Public Radio  radio


The presentation also including findings from a study on equity issues inherent to Long COVID’s impact on Massachusetts. “Some participants named racism is playing a role in the lack of available support," said Dr. Linda Sprague Martinez. "So, one example here is, yes, I feel it's because I was Haitian, when I walked into hospitals, they automatically thought I had COVID. If it was someone from another race they would be treated better. That steers me away from wanting to go back.”

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To restore trust in science, make it accessible; here’s how

The Hill  online


American trust in medical science is waning. Less than a third of adults — just 29 percent — report having “a great deal of trust” in medical researchers, according to a report from the Pew Charitable Trust. For most of our careers, but accelerating during the COVID pandemic, there has been a worrisome gap between those of us who conduct research and the public.

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How COVID-19 Hollowed Out a Generation of Young Black Men

ProPublica  online


“Everyone thinks about racism as something that is personally mediated, like someone insulting me,” said Linda Sprague Martinez, a professor at Boston University’s School of Social Work who conducts community health research with adolescents and young adults. “But the way in which it’s really pervasive is how it disrupts life chances and opportunity. … These are systems that are designed for you to fail, essentially, and for you to be erased and to be maintained in a certain position in our society.”

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How Is COVID-19 Impacting You? A Community-Based Photovoice Workshop

Am J Public Health

2022 Have you stopped to reflect on how the pandemic has impacted you? In February 2022, staff and peer leaders from 12 demonstration sites funded by the Minority HIV/AIDS Fund and the Health Resources and Services Administration, HIV/AIDS Bureau, Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program Part F – Special Projects of National Significance Program critically explored the question “How is COVID-19 impacting you?” as part of an applied photovoice workshop.

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“Part of getting to where we are is because we have been open to change” integrating community health workers on care teams at ten Ryan White HIV/AIDS program recipient sites

BMC Public Health

2021 Community Health Workers (CHWs) have long been integrated in the delivery of HIV care in middle- and low-income countries. However, less is known about CHW integration into HIV care teams in the United States (US). To date, US-based CHW integration studies have studies explored integration in the context of primary care and patient-centered medical homes.

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Two communities, one highway and the fight for clean air: the role of political history in shaping community engagement and environmental health research translation

BMC Public Health

2020 This paper explores strategies to engage community stakeholders in efforts to address the effects of traffic-related air pollution (TRAP). Communities of color and low-income communities are disproportionately impacted by environmental threats including emissions generated by major roadways.

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The HEALing (Helping to End Addiction Long-term SM) Communities Study:

Drug and Alcohol Dependence

2020 Opioid overdose deaths remain high in the U.S. Despite having effective interventions to prevent overdose deaths, there are numerous barriers that impede their adoption. The primary aim of the HEALing Communities Study (HCS) is to determine the impact of an intervention consisting of community-engaged, data-driven selection, and implementation of an integrated set of evidence-based practices (EBPs) on reducing opioid overdose deaths.

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Implementing an EHR-based Screening and Referral System to Address Social Determinants of Health in Primary Care

Medical Care

2019 Social determinants affect health, yet there are few systematic clinical strategies in primary care that leverage electronic health record (EHR) automation to facilitate screening for social needs and resource referrals. An EHR-based social determinants of health (SDOH) screening and referral model, adapted from the WE CARE model for pediatrics, was implemented in urban adult primary care.

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