Walter M. Sparky Matthews, M.D.
Clinical Professor in the Honors Program Honors Program Pre-Medical Mentor
- Residency in Public Health & General Preventive Medicine, U.S. Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine, 2002
- Residency in Aerospace Medicine, U.S. Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine, 2001
- Doctor of Medicine (M.D.), Baylor College of Medicine, 1996
- Master of Science (M.S.), National Security Strategy, The National War College, 2014
- Master of Public Health (M.P.H.), University of Texas Health Science Center, 2000
- B.A., Biology/Pre-Healthcare, Baylor University, 1992
Dr. Walter “Sparky” Matthews joined the Honors Program faculty in 2020 after retiring from the U.S. Air Force as the First Surgeon General of the United States Space Force. He earned a B.A. in Biology/Pre-Healthcare from Baylor University, a M.P.H. from the University of Texas Health Science Center, and a M.S. in National Security Strategy from the National War College. Dr. Matthews earned his M.D. from Baylor College of Medicine, and is board-certified in both Aerospace Medicine and Public Health & General Preventive Medicine. He teaches courses on the history of medicine, pathophysiology, and freshman seminars on leadership as a physician. Dr. Matthews is a highly decorated Air Force officer, retiring with the rank of Colonel. During his career, he achieved 1,113 flight hours in 26 weapon systems, including 197 combat hours and 42 combat support hours. Dr. Matthews was elected Fellow of the Aerospace Medical Association in 2019.
Current Academic Activities
- Pre-Medical Mentor, Baylor University Honors College
- Director, Hillis Scholars Program, Baylor University
- Faculty Advisor, Christian Pre-Health Fellowship, Baylor University
- Faculty Advisor, Consortium for the Awareness of Rare Disorders, Baylor University
Academic Interests and Research
- Aerospace Medicine
- Practice of Medicine in Cis-Lunar and Deep Space
- History of Medicine
- History of Military Medicine
- Pathophysiology and the Basis of Disease
- National Security and Strategic Use of the Tools of Statecraft
Professional Awards/Activities/Grants and Fellowships
- Fellow, Aerospace Medical Association
- Membership Committee Chair (Appointed 2022-09)
- 2014 Colonel John M. Collins Military Strategy Award (Writing), The National War College
- Selected Military Decorations
- Legion of Merit with one Oak Leaf Cluster
- Bronze Star
- Meritorious Service Medal with four Oak Leaf Clusters
- Air Medal
- Aerial Achievement Medal
- Afghanistan Campaign Medal
- Iraq Campaign Medal with one Star
- Nuclear Deterrence Operations Service Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster
- Consultancies (services provided through GnoSpark LLC)
- Fusion Cell (2020-present)
- Provides COVID-19 Risk Mitigation Services for businesses, schools, and other organizations. Helps clients create, implement, and adapt tailored operating and infection control plans.
- AlertTrace by VOS Systems, LLC (2020-present)
- Provides expertise to design strategy and implement fielding of the AlertTrace Bluetooth low energy device, a wearable technology solution for communicable disease contact tracing. Specifically, facilitates relationships between VOS Systems LLC and the Departments of Defense and the Air Force (including Space Force); AlertTrace holds the contract for contact tracing wearable tech with the Air Force, Navy, and Defense Health Agency
- Fusion Cell (2020-present)
Public Service/Community Activities
- Chair, City of Waco Veterans Affairs Advisory Board
- Appointed 2022-10-04; term expires 2024-09-30
Matthews, W., Bailey, T. (2021). Medicine in Space: Applying Land/Air Combat Medical Support Doctrine to the Domain of Space. (White Paper)
Ryan, B., Muehlenbein, M., Allen, J., Been, J., Boyd, K., Brickhouse, M., . . . Brickhouse, N. (2021). Sustaining University Operations During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness, 1-9. doi:10.1017/dmp.2021.69
“Outflanking the Tiniest Enemy: Washington’s Smallpox Inoculation of the Continental Army at Valley Forge, 1777-78,” National War College Master’s Thesis (2014).
“USAF Aeromedical Waiver Experience Regarding Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis Controlled with Topical Nasal Steroids,” Residency in Aerospace Medicine Phase II Research (2001).
“The Relationship between Cigarette Smoking and Other Poor Health Behaviors in a Young Adult Population,” Public Health Master’s Thesis (2000)
View Dr. Matthews' Bio.