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Assistant Professor, Public Health Sciences

Health Sciences Campus

Faculty photo for Sparkle Springfield

As a nutritionist, my research focuses on understanding and improving diet quality and diet-related outcomes in African-American women through culturally tailored, lifestyle interventions. I completed an NIH/NHLBI Cardiovascular Disease Prevention postdoctoral fellowship in the Prevention Research Center in the School of Medicine at Stanford University, and I am a former pre-doctoral fellow of the NIH/NCI Cancer Education Career Development Program. I was also an undergraduate fellow of the NIH/NIGMS Maximizing Access to Research Careers (MARC) Undergraduate Student Training in Academic Research (U-STAR) program.

I enjoy hiking, Zumba, and cooking – particularly vegan dishes.

Research focus

I am currently working on projects that include studies to understand individual and community-level predictors of resilience and examine its relationship with CVD-related health behaviors, including diet quality. My previous research examined socio-demographic and psychosocial predictors of dietary quality in African American breast cancer survivors enrolled in a community-based randomized weight-loss intervention trial.


Education
  • BS in Chemistry and Biology, minor in computer science, Grambling State University
  • PhD in Integrative Pathophysiology, Human Nutrition, and Health Promotion, University of Illinois at Chicago

What prompted you to pursue your field?

I have always been interested in health and nutrition. When I was 15 years old, I moved from the West Coast to the Deep South. This transition motivated me to learn more about diet-related disease, health disparities, and how social determinants of health influenced health promotion among different subpopulations in the Black community

Why is this area of study important at this point in time?

To build on my previous comment, I believe public health is being highlighted at this time because people are acknowledging the ways in which we are all connected.

What would you tell a student about why your field is exciting or important?

Health promotion research, specifically in underserved populations like the African-American community, is important to adding diverse perspectives to current and future public health literature.

What called you to or attracted you to Loyola?

I was attracted to the school- and university-wide focus on education, social justice, and community service.