headshot photo of Dr. Lisa Sparks

Dr. Lisa Sparks

Professor, Dean of the School of Communication
Professor
Foster and Mary McGaw Endowed Professor in Behavioral Sciences
School of Communication; Health and Strategic Communication
School of Pharmacy
Crean College of Health and Behavioral Sciences; Health Sciences
School of Communication; Communication Studies
Expertise: Health Communication; Cancer Communication; Caregiving; Aging; Research Methods
Office Location: Doti Hall 202B
Education:
University of Oklahoma, Bachelor of Arts
University of Oklahoma, Master of Arts
University of Oklahoma, Ph.D.

Video Profile

Biography

Dr. Lisa Sparks is the Inaugural Dean of the School of Communication and Endowed Professor at Chapman University. Prior to founding the School in 2016, she served as Chair of the Department of Communication Studies and Founding Head/Director of the Master of Science graduate program in Health and Strategic Communication. In 2019, Dr. Sparks secured $1.2 Million to launch a new Center for Freedom of Expression and Media Integrity and will serve as the Center’s Founding Executive Director.

In addition to serving as Dean and Endowed Professor at Chapman, Dr. Sparks has served as Full Member of the Chao Family/NCI Designated Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of California, Irvine in the School of Medicine, Division of Population Sciences since 2008. From 2015-17 she was competitively selected as an International Fellow by the Faculty Graduate School and Department of Communication Science at Vriet Universitiet Amsterdam in the Netherlands. Prior to joining Chapman in 2006, Dr. Sparks occupied faculty positions at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia and the University of Texas at San Antonio.

Dr. Sparks is a highly regarded teacher-scholar whose published work spans more than 150 research articles and scholarly book chapters, and is the author and editor of 12 books in the areas of communication, health, and aging with a distinct focus on intersections of provider-patient interaction and family decision-making as related to cancer communication. Her innovative research has been featured in the Los Angeles Times, Orange County Register, and in TED talks at TEDxChapmanU and TEDxOrangeCoast. She has served as Editor of Communication Research Reports and Guest Editor of numerous academic journals including Patient Education and Counseling, Health Communication and Communication Education and serves on a variety of editorial boards.

Dr. Sparks serves on the Board of Directors for the Laguna Playhouse and until 2019 served on the Board of Directors of the Susan G. Komen Foundation of Orange County. Dr. Sparks provides additional service to the community in her elected role as the Trustee of Area 5 on the Orange County Board of Education.

Recent Creative, Scholarly Work and Publications

Sparks, L., & Leahy, A. (2018). Conversing with Cancer: How to ask questions, Find and Share Information, and Make the Best Decisions. www.ConversingWithCancer.com. Peter Lang Publishers.
Kreps, G. L., Neuhauser, L., Sparks, L., & LaBelle, S. (in press/2018). Promoting Convergence Between Health Literacy and Health Communication. In Logan, R. (Ed.), Health literacy in clinical practice and public health: New initiatives and lessons learned at the intersection with other disciplines. IOS Press.
Berman, A., Bevan, J. L., & Sparks, L. (2018). Assessing College Students’ Readiness to Seek University Mental Health Services: Links with Social Support, Stigma, and Communication Efficacy. Manuscript submitted for publication.
Sparks, L. & Kreps, G. L. (2017). Cancer communication science: Intergroup perspectives. In J. Harwood, & H. Giles (Eds.) The SAGE Encyclopedia of Intergroup Communication (pp. xx-xx). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Weber, K. A., Sparks, L. & LaBelle, S. (2017). The development and testing of a health specific subjective numeracy measure. Manuscript submitted for publication.
Wenzel, L., Mukamel, D., Osann, K., Havrilesky, L., Sparks, L., Lipscomb, J., Wright, A., Walker, J., Alvarez, R., Van Le, L., Robinson, K., Bristow, R., Morgan, R. J., Rimel, B., Ladd, H., Hsieh, S., Wahi, A., & Cohn, D. (2017). Rationale and Study Protocol for the Patient-Centered Outcome Aid (PCOA) Randomized Controlled Trial: A Personalized Decision Tool for Newly Diagnosed Ovarian Cancer Patients. Contemporary Clinical Trials. 57. 10.1016/j.cct.2017.03.006.
Bevan, J. L., Cummings, M. B., & Sparks, L. (2016). A longitudinal test of the serial argument process model: Implications for stress and physical health symptoms. Manuscript submitted for publication.
2017, Invited featured article “Building Character at Chapman University” Orange Plaza Review, Sept/Oct, 2017.
Bevan, J. L., Cummings, M. B., Engert, M. L., & Sparks, L. (2016). Serial argument perceived resolvability, goals, rumination and conflict strategy usage: A preliminary longitudinal study. In J. A. Samp (Ed.), Communicating Interpersonal Conflict in Close Relationships: Contexts, Challenges, and Opportunities (pp. 128-143). New York, NY: Routledge.
Wenzel, L., Mukamel, D., Cohn, D., Havrilesky, L., Wright, A., Lipscomb, J., Sparks, L., Ladd, H., & Osann, K. (2016). Time trade-offs in advanced ovarian cancer. Journal of Clinical Oncology. 34. 20-20. 10.1200/jco.2016.34.26_suppl.20.
Sparks, L., Hefner, V., & Rogeness, A. H. (2015). The state of cancer care communication across the lifespan: The role of resilience, hope, and decision-making. T. Socha and G. Beck (Eds.) Communicating Hope and Resilience across the Lifespan. New York & Berlin, Peter Lang.
Burgers, C., Beukeboom, C.J., Sparks, L., & Diepeveen, V. (2015). How (not) to inform patients about drug use: Use and effects of negations in Dutch patient information leaflets. Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety, 24(2), 137-143. doi: 10.1002/pds.3679.
Kee, K., Sparks, L., Struppa, D.C., Manucci, M., & Damiano, A. (in press/2015). Innovation diffusion, social media, and the simplicial model of social aggregation: Computational simulation of cluster traversers for community health interventions. Health Communication. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10410236.2014.960061
Sparks, L., & Miller-Day, M. (2014). Methodological approaches to eliminating health disparities. In B. Whaley (Ed.) Research Methods in Health Communication: Principles and Application (pp. 318-336). New York and Abingdon, UK: Taylor and Francis.
Robertson, B., Sparks, L., & Gordon, A. (2014). Health care reform: Value differences between liberal and conservative candidates and voters. "AlieNation: The Divide and Conquer Election of 2012." Peter Lang.
Sparks, L., Kee, K., & Struppa, D. C. (2014). Social aggregates in health contexts. In W. Donsbach (Ed.) The International Encyclopedia of Communication, 4, (pp 1272-1274). Oxford, UK and Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.
Sparks, L. & Bevan, J. L. (2014). Distance caregiving. In W. Donsbach (Ed.) The International Encyclopedia of Communication, 4, (pp 365-367). Oxford, UK and Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.
Sparks, L. (2014). Social identity and health: An intergroup approach. In W. Donsbach (Ed.) The International Encyclopedia of Communication, 4, (pp 1287-1290). Oxford, UK and Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.
Sparks, L. (2014). Family caregiving. In W. Donsbach (Ed.) The International Encyclopedia of Communication, 4, (pp 488-490). Oxford, UK and Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.
Bevan, J. L., Gomez, R., & Sparks, L. (2014). Disclosures about important life events on Facebook: Relationships with stress and quality of life. Computers in Human Behavior, 39, 246-253.
Kreps, G. L., & Sparks, L. (in press/2014). Cancer communication. In G. A. Colditz & J. G. Golson (Ed.) The SAGE Encyclopedia of Cancer and Society (2nd) (pp. xx-xx). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Kreps, G. L., & Sparks, L. (in press/2014). National Cancer Institute. In G. A. Colditz & J. G. Golson (Ed.) The SAGE Encyclopedia of Cancer and Society (2nd) (pp. xx-xx). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
2014, Teaching Professionals the Art of Health Communication http://www.latimes.com/brandpublishing/businessplus/chapmanu/la-ss-health-communication-20140402-dto,0,542181.story#axzz2yt04ivgF
2014, Creating a Healthy Dialogue Between Doctor and Patient http://www.latimes.com/brandpublishing/businessplus/chapmanu/la-ss-lisa-sparks-20140402-dto,0,2272893.story#ixzz2yt0TEq1Y
2014, Mixed Messages on Ebola. Orange County Register, Chapman University Section (p.2) (November 3, 2014), Orange County, CA.
Tukachinsky, R., Hefner, V., & Sparks, L. (2014). Mental health depictions in entertainment television content: Entertainment Industry Council 2013-2014 project report. Unpublished research report.
Bevan, J. L., Sparks, L., Ernst, J., Francies, J., & Santora, N. (2013). Information sources in relation to information quality, information-seeking, and uncertainty in the context of healthcare reform. In R. Ahmed & B. R. Bates (Eds.), Health Communication and Mass Media: Applying Research to Public Health Policy and Practice (pp. 19-34). Farnham, UK: Gower Publishers.
Sparks, L. (2013). Health communication and caregiving research, policy, and practice. Caregiving across the professions: A multi-disciplinary, coordinated perspective (pp. 131-175). Springer.
Kreps, G. L., Kim, P., Sparks, L., Neuhauser, L, Daugherty, C. G., Canzona, M. R., Kim, W., & Jun, J. (2013). Introducing the Global Advocacy Leadership Academy (GALA): Training health advocates around the world to champion the needs of health care consumers. In G. L. Kreps, & P. Dini, (Eds.), Global health 2012: The first international conference on global health challenges (pp. 97-100). Wilmington, DE: International Academy, Research, and Industry Association (IARIA).
Kreps, G.L., Kim, P., Sparks, L., Neuhauser, L., Daugherty, C.G., Canzona, M.R., Kim, W., & Jun, J. (2013). Promoting Effective Health Advocacy to Promote Global Health: The Case of the Global Advocacy Leadership Academy (GALA). International Journal on Advances in Life Sciences, 5(1 & 2), 66-78.
Kee, K., Mannucci, M., Sparks, L., & Struppa, D. C., (2013). Social groups, social media, and higher dimensional social structures: A simplicial model of social aggregation for computational communication research. Communication Quarterly, 61(1), 35-58. DOI: 10.1080/01463373.2012.719566
Bevan, J., & Sparks, L. (2013). The relationship between accurate and benevolently biased serial argument perceptions and individual negative health perceptions. Communication Research, (1-25). DOI: 10.1177/0093650212438391
Kreps, G.L., Kim, P., Sparks, L., & Neuhauser, L. (2013). Supporting cancer advocacy leadership: The Global Advocacy Leadership Academy. Psycho-Oncology, 22(S2) (Supplement 2), 42. (4.668 5-year impact factor).
2013, Preventing gun violence: More than a legal issue, it’s become a public health concern. Orange County Register, Chapman University Section (p.2) (April 30, 2013), Orange County, CA.
Burgers, C., Buekeboom, C. J., & Sparks, L. (2012). How the doc should (not) talk: When negations influence psychosocial outcomes of doctor-patient interactions. Patient Education and Counseling, 89(2), 267-273 doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2012.08.008.
Rakovski, C., Sparks, L., Robinson, J. D., Kee, K., Bevan, J., & Agne, R. (2012). A regression-based study using jackknife replicates of HINTS III data: Predictors of the efficacy of health information seeking. Journal of Communication in Healthcare, 5(3), 163-170.
Bevan, J., Vreeburg, S. K., Verdugo, S., & Sparks, L. (2012). Interpersonal conflict and health perception in long-distance caregiving relationships. Journal of Health Communication 1-15. DOI:10.1080/10810730.2011.650829.
Sparks, L., Bevan, J. & Rogers, K. (2012). An intergroup communication approach to understanding the function of compliance, outgroup typicality, and honest explanations in distant caregiving relationships from an intergroup approach: Validation of a health care communication scale. Journal of Communication in Healthcare, 5, 12-22.
Kreps, G., Kim, P., & Sparks, L. (2012). Developing advocacy organizations to support the needs of people confronting cancer: The cancer advocacy leadership academy. Asia Pacific Journal of Communication.
Mirkiani Thompson, N., Bevan, J., & Sparks, L. (2011). Healthcare reform information-seeking: Relationships with uncertainty, undertainty discrepancy, and health self-efficacy. Journal of Communication in Health Care, 5, 56-66.
Bevan, J., Jupin, A., & Sparks, L. (2011). Information quality, uncertainty, and quality of care in long distance caregiving. Communication Research Reports, 28(2), 190-195. DOI: 10.1080/08824096.2011.566105
Bevan, J., & Sparks, L. (2011). Communication in the context of long-distance family caregiving. An integrated review and practical applications. Patient Education and Counseling, 85, 26-30.
Bevan, J., Rogers, K., Andrews, N., & Sparks, L. (2011). Topic avoidance and negative health perceptions in the distant caregiving context. Journal of Family Communication, 12(4), 300-314.
Sparks, L., & Villagran, M. (2010). Patient and provider interaction: A global health communication perspective. Cambridge, UK, Polity Press.
Villagran, M. M., & Sparks, L. (2010). Social identity and health contexts. In H. Giles, S. Reid, & J. Harwood (Eds.), The dynamics of intergroup communication (pp. 235-248). New York & Berlin: Peter Lang.
Sparks, L. & Brougham, R. R. (2010). Health Literacy and older adults: Understanding motivational, cognitive, and emotional barriers. In R.R. Brougham (Ed.), New Directions in Aging Research: Health and Cognition. New York: NOVA Science Publishers.
Villagran, M. M., Weathers, M. Keefe, B., & Sparks, L. (2010). Medical providers as global warming and climate change health educators: A health literacy approach. Communication Education, 59(3), 312-327.
Kreps, G. L., Sparks, L. & Villagran, M. (Eds.) (2010). Communication education and health promotion. [Special Issue]. Communication Education, 59(3).
Kreps, G. L., Sparks, L. & Villagran, M. (Eds.) (2010). Editor’s introduction: Communication education and health promotion. Communication Education, 59(3), 215-219.
Joseph, R. M., Sparks, L., & Robinson, J. D. (2010). Diabetes, foot health education and amputation prevention. Health Communication, 25(6), 607-608.
Sparks, L., & Villagran, M. (2009). Talking Cancer. www.editorialaresta.com
Wanzer, M., Sparks, L., & Frymier, A. B. (2009). Humorous communication within the lives of older adults: The relationships among humor, coping efficacy, age, and life satisfaction. Health Communication, 24, 1-9.
Wright, K. B., Sparks, L., & O’Hair, H. D. (2008). Health communication in the 21st century. Oxford, England: Blackwell.
Sparks, L., & Villagran, M. (2008). La Comunicación en el Cancer: Comunicación y apoyo emocional en el laberinto del cancer. [English translation: Communication and emotional support in the cancer maze.] Madrid, Spain: Aresta.
Sparks, L. (2008). Family decision-making. In W. Donsbach (Ed.) The International Encyclopedia of Communication, 4, (pp. 1729-1733). Oxford, UK and Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.
Rowan, K. E., Kreps, G. L., Botan, C. H., Sparks, L., Samoilenko, S., & Bailey, C. (2008). Responding to terrorism: Risk communication, crisis communication, and the CAUSE model. In H. D. O’Hair, R. L. Heath, K. J. Ayotte, and G. R. Ledlow (Eds.), Terrorism: Communication and rhetorical perspectives. Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press.
O’Hair, H. D., & Sparks, L. (2008). Relational agency during life-threatening illnesses. In K. B. Wright & S. D. Moore (Eds.), Applied health communication (pp. 271-289). Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press.
Pecchioni, L., Krieger, J. C., Sparks, L., Pitts, M., & Ota, H. (2008). Investigating cancer and ageing from a cultural perspective. In L. Sparks, H. D. O’Hair, & G. L. Kreps, (Eds.), Cancer communication and aging (pp. 239-257). Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press.
Sparks, L., O’Hair, H. D. & Kreps, G. L. (2008). Conceptualizing cancer communication and aging: New directions for research. In L. Sparks, H. D. O’Hair, & G. L. Kreps, (Eds.), Cancer communication and aging (pp. 1-14). Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press.
Sparks, L., & Harwood, J. (2008). Cancer, aging, and social identity: Development of an integrated model of social identity theory and health communication. In L. Sparks, H. D. O’Hair, & G. L. Kreps, (Eds.), Cancer communication and aging (pp. 77-95). Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press.
Sparks, L., & Turner, M. M. (2008). Cognitive and emotional processing of cancer messages and information seeking with older adults. In L. Sparks, H. D. O’Hair, & G. L. Kreps, (Eds.), Cancer communication and aging (pp. 17-45). Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press.
Egbert, N., Sparks, L., Kreps, G. L., & du Pré, A. (2008). Finding meaning in the journey: Methods of spiritual coping for aging cancer patients. In L. Sparks, H. D. O’Hair, & G. L. Kreps, (Eds.), Cancer communication and aging (pp. 277-292). Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press.
Harzold, B., & Sparks, L. (2008). When the parent has cancer: A life span developmental approach to adult child perceptions of communication competency, humor orientation, and relational satisfaction in the older adult parent-adult child relationship. In L. Sparks, H. D. O’Hair, & G. L. Kreps, (Eds.), Cancer communication and aging (pp. 215-235). Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press.
Sparks, L., O’Hair, H. D., & Kreps, G. L. (Eds.) (2008). Cancer, communication and aging. Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press.
Brougham, R.R., Sparks, L., & John, R., Ruby, C., & Goodman, E. (2008). Future time perspective, smoking behavior, and age. Gerontologist, 48, 14-15.
Kreps, G.L., Neuhauser, L., Sparks, L., & Villagran, M. (Eds.) (2008). Translational community-based health communication interventions to promote cancer prevention and control for vulnerable audiences [Special Issue] Patient Education and Counseling, 71(3), 315-350.
Kreps, G.L., Neuhauser, L., Sparks, L., Villagran, M. (2008). The power of community-based health communication interventions to promote cancer prevention and control for at-risk populations. Patient Education and Counseling, 71(3), 315-318.
Kreps, G. L., & Sparks, L. (2008). Meeting the health literacy needs of vulnerable populations. Patient Education and Counseling, 71(3), 328-332.
Sparks, L., & Nussbaum, J. F. (2008). Health literacy and cancer communication with older adults. Patient Education and Counseling, 71(3), 345-350.
Collins, D., Villagran, M. M., & Sparks, L. (2008). Crossing borders, crossing cultures: Barriers to cancer prevention and treatment along the U.S./Mexico border. Patient Education and Counseling, 71(3), 333-339.