Lisa Sparks, Ph.D.


​​District 5 (Jul. 1, 2022 - Jun. 30, 2026)

Serving Aliso Viejo, Coto de Caza, Dana Point, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Woods, Las Flores, Mission Viejo, Newport Beach, Newport Coast, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, San Joaquin Hills, San Juan Capistrano, portions of Lake Forest and portions of Costa Mesa.

Biographical Information

Hon. Lisa Sparks, Ph.D. (University of Oklahoma, 1998).
Founding Dean and McGaw Endowed Professor in Behavioral Sciences
School of Communication
Chapman University
One University Drive, Orange, CA 92866

Dr. Sparks serves as Endowed Professor in Behavioral Sciences in the School of Communication, of which she was the Founding Dean, with joint appointments in the Crean College of Health and Behavioral Sciences and School of Pharmacy at Chapman University. She previously served as Department Chair and Director of Graduate Studies. Dr. Sparks is an internationally renowned teacher-scholar whose published work spans more than 150 research articles and book chapters and 13 books in the areas of health risk communication and aging and is cited as top ten most prolific authors in Health Communication. In addition, she holds post graduate certifications from Harvard University's Institute for Management and Leadership in Education (MLE) program in the Harvard Graduate School of Education. 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 has served in the following roles: International Research Fellow at Vriet Universitiet Amsterdam; Full Member of the Chao Family/NCI Designated Comprehensive Cancer Center and Adjunct Professor of Public Health at the University of California, Irvine; Cancer Communication Research Fellow for the National Cancer Institute and External Scientific Reviewer for NIH; Consultant for U. S. House of Representatives; Principal Investigator (PI), Co-PI, and Consultant on various research grants; Editor, Guest Editor, and Reviewer of numerous academic journals and editorial boards. Dr. Sparks has been featured in the Los Angeles Times, Orange County RegisterABC 7 News, KCAL 9 News, National Public Radio, Your World with Neil Cavuto-Fox News, Epoch Times-California Insider ShowKABC Talk Radio, and TED.

Dr. Sparks serves her community as President and Trustee of the Orange County Board of Education, elected in 2018 (56.8% of the vote with more than 80,000 votes) and re-elected in 2022 (65% of the vote with more than 100,000 votes) in South County Area 5 to promote and advocate for quality public school choice options in K12 Orange County school districts. In 2019, Dr. Sparks was recruited as a candidate to run for United States House of Representatives (CA-45) campaigning in a crowded field of 7 candidates without further advancement to the general election. In 2020, Dr. Sparks was awarded the Club for Growth Foundation Fellowship, Washington, D. C. The Club for Growth Foundation Fellowship Program equips civic leaders to effectively explain the relationship between a free society, economic liberty, and limited government. 

Dr. Sparks' achievements, leadership qualities, and strong commitment to advance the intersections of health communication and aging in the cancer care context and making a positive impact in her community are significant as evidenced by: a) the number of publications (over 150) most of which are peer-reviewed, and 13 books; b) the obtainment and effort to obtain competitive peer-reviewed research grants and contracts; c) the recognition of her scientific stature; d) her collaborations with the top national and international scientists in communication and related scientific fields such as public health, medicine, and gerontology; e) her teaching and mentoring of undergraduate and graduate students and junior faculty; and f) her demonstrated leadership, administrative, editorial, community service roles, and media appearances.

Check out Dr. Sparks’ invited TED talks:

2013, "Why Health Communication Can Change (SAVE) Your Life" TEDxChapmanU:
2011, “Health Risk Messages and Decision-Making” TEDxOrangeCoast:​ 

Check out articles and clips featured in the media:

2023, Innovative Funding Pathways for Orange County K12 Public Charter Schools Initiative. KNSI National Radio Show: Ox in DC Chamber, featuring Dr. Lisa Sparks, President, Orange County Board of Education.

2020, California Insider—The Epoch Times: California's College Campuses Face Attacks on Free Speech; Cancel Culture Expands | Lisa Sparks: December 7, 2020

2020, Your World With Neil Cavuto: FOX News July 17, 2020 1:00pm-2:00pm PDT

2019, Facilitator, Center for Freedom of Expression Debate, School of Communication, Chapman University.

2017, Invited featured article “Building Character at Chapman University" Orange Plaza Review, Sept/Oct, 2017.

2016, Health communication segment featuring Dr. Lisa Sparks on PBS SoCal-Plus.

2014, Creating a Healthy Dialogue Between Doctor and Patient,0,2272893.story#ixzz2yt0TEq1Y

2014, Teaching Professionals the Art of Health Communication,0,542181.story#axzz2yt04ivgF

2014, Mixed Messages on Ebola. Orange County Register, Chapman University Section (p.2) (November 3, 2014), Orange County, CA.

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.​​