Sparks Receives ASN Distinguished Educator Award

Matthew A. Sparks, MD, FASN, associate professor in the of Nephrology and program director for the Nephrology Fellowship Program, has been awarded the 2022 Midcareer Distinguished Educator Award from the American Society of Nephrology (ASN).

The award recognizes individuals who have demonstrated exceptional leadership and achievements in clinical care, education, and research. Award recipients are recognized for their leadership, innovation, collaboration and an unwavering commitment to do what is best for patients and advance kidney health. 

Sparks serves as the lead for the Department of Medicine’s new Society for Early Education Scholars (SEEDS), a year-long mentored education program designed for fellows planning careers as clinician educators or education scholars. SEEDS in May graduated its first class of fellows. He served as director of undergraduate medical research in the Department of Medicine from 2014-2022.

Interested in finding ways to promote medical education, Sparks focuses on leveraging social media to enhance learning in nephrology and serves as program director for the Nephrology Social Media Collective (NSMC) internship and as a member of the board of directors of nephrology journal club (NephJC), a non-profit organization he co-founded dedicated to enhancing free online medical education in nephrology.

“My educational philosophy is to build communities of inquiry both locally and nationally,” says Sparks. “I strive provide a safe learning environment where trainees and teachers learn together.”

Sparks is also co-founder and advisory board member of the first nephrology blog associated with a journal- AJKD blog, the official blog of the American Journal of Kidney Diseases and co-creator of the educational project NephMadness. He is past deputy editor of Renal Fellow Network where he continues to remain as faculty lead.

Sparks is currently a member of the Nephrology Board of the American Board of Internal Medicine, the Scientific and Clinical Education Lifelong Learning Committee Chair, Kidney in Cardiovascular Disease Council of the American Heart Association. He is a fellow of the American Society of Nephrology, the American Heart Association, and the National Kidney Foundation.

Sparks serves as Education Director for KIDNEYcon- a yearly hands-on conference dedicated to advances in nephrology held in Little Rock, Ark. each April and has a podcast called The Nephron Segment.