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Arnold School of Public Health

2022-2023 SPARC Graduate Research Grants awarded to 12 Arnold School graduate students

February 6, 2023 | Erin Bluvas,

Twelve of the 49 2022-2023 Support to Promote Advancement of Research and Creativity (SPARC) Graduate Research Grants from the USC Office of the Vice President for Research have been awarded to Arnold School graduate students. The students, who represent all six departments (Communication Sciences and Disorders, Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Environmental Health Sciences, Exercise Science, Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior and Health Services Policy and Management ), will have a little over a year to complete SPARC-funded projects (up to $5,000 each) that support the completion or promotion of their research, creative or other meritorious scholarship.

Previous SPARC awards have been used by Arnold School students to fund projects, such as examining the role of structural racism on the association between maternal obesity and severe maternal morbidity in SC, body image and nutrition among African American teenage girls, physiological soordination among parents and children with autism spectrum disorder, and disparities in cancer stage and mortality among Medicaid enrollees. 

Upon completion, the students will present their findings at Discover USC and are encouraged to develop articles and papers based on their projects for publication in scholarly journals. Before the actual projects even begin, however, the students have already learned about the competitive research proposal process that will continue throughout many of their careers.

The Office of the Vice President for Research designs SPARC application materials to simulate the experience of applying for nationally competitive grants, helping applicants develop their skills in these areas. Students must supply the standard components of a comprehensive grant proposal package, such as a detailed research narrative, budget and other supporting documentation.

Congratulations to the following Arnold School graduate students who have earned 2022-2023 SPARC awards.



Project Title

Atefe Aghaei Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior Impacts of COVID-19 and Taliban takeover on Afghan refugee women's mental health wellbeing
Shanikque Blackwell Health Services Policy and Management Impact of Telehealth and Obstetrics Capacity on Maternal Health Outcomes & User Satisfaction: A Mixed Methods Approach
Marren Brooks Communication Sciences and Disorders Reading Prosody in Elementary-age Children who use Cochlear Implants
Katherine DeVivo Exercise Science Understanding the factors influencing movement behaviors and affect among dog owners
John Gilliam Exercise Science Simulated trunk proprioceptive impairment: a paradigm for sensorimotor dysfunction in low back pain
Lídia Gual Gonzalez Epidemiology Unearthing Candidatus Rickettsia andeanae, a novel tick-borne pathogen, in PeeDee South Carolina
Dakshu Jindal Health Services Policy and Management An analysis of the association between state direct access laws and physical therapy use, and the effect of change in physical therapy use on subsequent healthcare costs and opioid use
Tianchu Lyu Health Services Policy and Management Predict the occurrence of postpartum cardiovascular disease and assess the impacts of structural disparities among a national cohort of pregnant women using electronic health records
Md Nasim Saba (Nasim) Nishat Biostatistics Personalized treatment for glucose intolerance in VLBW infants via dynamic treatment regimes
Sarah Sellers Environmental Health Sciences Atmospheric Dispersion of Antibiotic Resistant Genes from Wastewater Treatment Plant Generated Bioaerosols
James White III
Exercise Science Utility and feasibility of activity type to augment consumer wearable-based physical activity energy expenditure prediction equations using heart rate and movement in children
Xuanxuan Zhu
Epidemiology Complementary Feeding Among US Infants: Measures, Infant Growth, and Maternal Mental Health


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