John O. Spengler, J.D., Ph.D.

Professor of Tourism, Recreation and Sport Management

College of Health and Human Performance

2013 Awardee

John O. Spengler’s work encompasses the scientific study of law and other policies relevant to community health, physical activity, obesity prevention, and participant safety in sport and recreation.

Spengler’s research has been funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to study policies relevant to community access to sport and recreation facilities in lower-income communities and communities of color.

As an American Heart Association Volunteer, his research has informed policy and advocacy efforts at the state and national level to improve community health through physical activity. His research findings have been widely disseminated through publications in high quality journals such as the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Leisure Sciences, and the American Journal of Public Health, RWJF commissioned research briefs and papers, and numerous webinars, professional conferences, and meetings.

Spengler’s work has also informed an Aspen Institute project designed to improve the health of children and communities through sport. He is the Director of the UF Sport Policy and Research Collaborative (SPARC), the official research partner of this Aspen Institute project named “Project Play,” and serves on the advisory board. He is also the President of the Sport and Recreation Law Association and Associate Editor of the Journal of Legal Aspects of Sport.

He is the author of two book chapters and four college textbooks (three as first author) that are used in classrooms across the country. Honors include the Florida Sports Hall of Fame, Fame for Fitness award in recognition of his work on childhood obesity prevention, selection as an American Heart Association policy statement writing group member, and research fellow awards for both AAHPERD and the Sport and Recreation Law Association.

Spengler’s research agenda will further continue with the targeting of funding opportunities through the NIH, AHA, and RWJF to investigate school policies that promote physical activity. He plans to build upon earlier successes in grant procurement by investigating policy issues relevant to the joint and shared use of features in the built environment that contribute to physical activity.