Johnelle Sparks

Professor, Department of Demography

Dr. Johnelle Sparks is Professor of Demography and Associate Dean for Faculty Success and Administration in the College for Health, Community and Policy at the University of Texas at San Antonio. She has been with the department since fall 2006 and has worked extensively mentoring doctoral students completing the applied demography doctoral program. She is also a Master Facilitator of the Center for the Improvement of Mentored Experiences in Research curriculum through the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her main areas of research include: 1) premature aging, allostatic load, and mortality; 2) spatial inequality and disparities in health and mortality; and 3) inequalities related to segregation, poverty, sexual orientation, and education. Methodologically, Dr. Sparks has a primary focus on research methods and complex survey data. Part of this work is highlighted by ongoing Texas Research Data Center (TXRDC) projects at Texas A&M University that require federal level clearance to access restricted CDC data. She has taught research methods and health disparities for over fifteen years; additionally, she has developed survey instruments and participated in primary data collection efforts in San Antonio, TX on food insecurity and WIC participation and childhood health. She also works with colleagues at UT Health San Antonio on the SAVES project (San Antonio Vision and Eye Study) which is an epidemiologic examination of eye health, cognitive function, and overall well-being in San Antonio. Her use of big data across interdisciplinary health research helps her to mentor junior faculty and students with interests in this area. 


  • Health Disparities 
  • Big Data 
  • Electronic Medical Records 
  • Structural Determinants of Health 
  • Survey Methodology 
  • Demography