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We work to tackle bias in healthcare, identify and reduce health disparities, and foster diverse ways to thrive.


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Patient Bias Toward Providers

doctor and patient

While research has shown that doctors can have biases about their patients, can patients have biases about their doctors? Given that when most people picture a doctor they often think of a White man, how might patients experience provider diversity as the workforce includes more women and people of color? Together with the Mind & Body Lab, SPARQ found that, when receiving identical treatment, White patients has a less positive response to Black and women providers. Check out the research.

Healthy Spaces

Americans spend a majority of their time inside, but little is known about the effects of indoor spaces, especially workplaces, on people’s mental and physical wellbeing. With support from Stanford Catalyst for Creative Solutions, SPARQ collaborated with a team led by Sarah Billington and James Landay from Stanford Engineering and Computer Science to design and test the impact of different kinds of workspaces. Research found that employees were less stressed when they worked in offices with natural materials (e.g., wood), light (e.g., windows), and diverse representations (e.g., photos of people from different backgrounds doing things together).

Be The Donor

Recruiting bone marrow donors faces a pressing challenge, shared by many charitable and social organizations: how might people be encouraged to give to those in need? In a large-scale field experiment with a donor recruitment organization, conducted in collaboration with SPARQ Affiliates Geoff Cohen and L. Taylor Phillips, SPARQ is partnering to improve the conversion of registrants who "match" patients from mere matches to actual donors. This project is in honor of SPARQ’s co-founder, Dr. Nalini Ambady. Read more about her and our story.

Health Mindsets

The U.S. ranks #1 in the world in per capita health care spending, but in the bottom half of wealthy nations in many health outcomes; low-income Americans and people of color bear most of this burden. With funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, SPARQ and the Mind & Body Lab are creating interventions to reduce disparities by changing how people define and think about health. Read more about health mindsets and how American cultural mindsets can help or hinder people’s health.

Edgy Veggies

Americans continue to struggle with meeting dietary guidelines, leading to a host of health problems such as obesity and chronic disease. Together with the Mind & Body Lab, SPARQ created the Edgy Veggies Toolkit to increase consumption of vegetables and other healthy foods by changing the ways they are described. This digital toolkit is designed to help restaurant managers, chefs, parents, and anyone else who makes decisions about other people’s meals make healthy foods more appealing. Learn more about the research behind Edgy Veggies.

Rethinking Stress

People often think about stress as a negative force impacting their physical and emotional health, but surprisingly, stress can also have positive effects. Together with the Mind & Body Lab, SPARQ created the Rethinking Stress Toolkit to teach people strategies for reevaluating their stress, which can help improve their work performance, mental health, and physical health. Learn more about the research behind Rethinking Stress.

Image Credits

Uber Images / Shutterstock | cottonbro studio from Pexels | Tim Griffith / Stanford News Service | Mika Marttila / Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) | Linda A. Cicero / Stanford University News Service | sarsmis / Shutterstock | Paraksa / Shutterstock