Robert D. Sparks, M.D., has had a distinguished career as a leader in medical education, public health and philanthropy.
A native Iowan, Sparks received his medical degree in 1957 from the University of Iowa. After completing his residency in internal medicine and gastroenterology at Tulane University School of Medicine, he joined the faculty at Tulane and rose to the rank of dean of the School of Medicine in 1969.
Continuing on the path of academic medicine, Sparks became the chancellor of the University of Nebraska Medical Center and vice president of the University of Nebraska system in 1972. Four years later, Sparks joined the staff at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation where he eventually became president and trustee.
In 1995, Sparks became president and chief executive officer of the California Medical Association Foundation, working there until his official retirement in 1998.
Throughout his career, Sparks volunteered his time and efforts to many areas of public health, serving on local, national and international committees and boards. Sparks also established multiple university-level funds to benefit the advancement of public health education.
Dr. Sparks served as senior associate of the California Medical Association Foundation and as an adviser to the Quincy Foundation for Medical Research. He was selected as a Master of the American College of Physicians in 2011. He passed away on July 1, 2014, in Placerville, California.
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