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Danielle Varda, Associate Professor

Associate Professor Danielle Varda

University of Colorado Denver
School of Public Affairs
P.O. Box 173364 - Campus Box 142
Denver, CO 80217 - 3364
Phone: (303) 315 - 2129
Fax: (303) 315 – 2229



Danielle M. Varda is an Associate Professor at University of Colorado Denver School of Public Affairs, with a secondary appointment in the Colorado School of Public Health, Department of Health Systems, Management and Policy. She also has a courtesy Associate Professor appointment in the School of Information Sciences at University of Colorado Boulder. She is Co-Director of the Center on Network Science, Director of the Nonprofit Concentration in the MPA program, and the advisor for the Dual MPA-MPH Degree program. Dr. Varda directs the Network LeadershipTraining Academy, which is held annually in Denver at the School of Public Affairs. She is also the CEO of Visible Network Labs, a data science startup company that has built the first social connectedness platform that supports the health and well-being of communities and the people who live in them. She also sits on the AmeriCorps NCCC Federal Advisory Board and is an alumna of the AmeriCorps NCCC (Class 5 and 6). Dr. Varda joined CU Denver School of Public Affairs from the RAND Corporation, where she worked as an Associate Policy Scientist from 2005 to 2008.

She specializes in collaborative governance and network leadership, focusing specifically in Public Health Systems and Services Research. Her research focus is on evaluating the network structure of interorganizational collaborations between the public, private and nonprofit sectors, and the subsequent network effects of these recorded interactions. Her research portfolio includes projects in the areas of maternal/child health, public health and health networks, nonprofit community networks, economic inclusion/wealth building and systems evaluation.

She has developed two highly adopted software tools that use models and methods of network measurement. For example, with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, she developed the software tool, PARTNER, which uses Social Network Analysis to administer a survey and link to an analysis tool, to measure and monitor collaborative activity over time. Dr. Varda’s PARTNER tool was featured in her first-place award for the 2008 Maxwell School Collaborative Governance Initiative competition, Teaching Simulation, and is used by over 2,000 communities in 30 countries and all over the U.S. PARTNER, and it's suite of tools, technical assistance, and training have become well-known resources for communities working to build their community networks and for systems building. She is also the author of the Person-Centered Network App (PCN App). The PCN App is a tool for use by a provider to first screen a patient to assess their gaps and strengths in their personal support systems and then, based on the results, link them to available community resources. The basic PCN App allows a user to collect data on a person’s personal network, identifying who they are connected to and how well connected (or not) those network members are to one another. It also assesses the content, strength and importance of those connections. More can be found here.

In 2010, she was awarded the “Public Health Systems and Services Article of the Year” award by Academy Health PHSSR Interest Group for her co-authored paper “Core Dimensions of Connectivity in Public Health Collaboratives," and in 2013 she was awarded First Runner Up for the same award for her co-authored paper "Implications of Network Structure on Public Health Collaborative," published in Health Education and Behavior. 

She is an experienced interviewer and facilitator and has extensive experience developing and administering surveys. Her research has been funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, the Colorado Trust, Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing, RAND Corporation, Department of Health and Human Services (Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response), Veterans Administration, University of Kentucky School of Public Health, Department of Defense, Centers for Disease Control, and the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, among others.

She is the mother of three young daughters, who together with her husband, spend as much time camping, skiing, and boating the Colorado rivers as possible.


Chapman, C. and D. Varda (2017). Nonprofit Resource Contribution and Mission Alignment in Interorganizational, Cross-Sector Public Health Networks. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, [forthcoming].

Ward, K., D. Epstein, D. Varda, and B. Lane. (forthcoming). Measuring Performance in Interagency Collaboration: FEMA Corps, Risk, Hazards & Crisis in Public Policy, [forthcoming].

Hogg, R. and D. Varda. (2016). Insights Into Collaborative Networks of Nonprofit, Private, and Public Organizations That Address Complex Health Issues. Health Affairs, 35(11), 2014-2019.

 Leider, J.P., S.G. Shah, N. Rider, A. Beck, B.Castrucci, J.Harris, K. Sellers, D. Varda, P. Erwin, and R.C. Brownson. (2016). “Challenges and Innovations in Surveying the Governmental Public Health Workforce.” American Journal of Public Health, 106(11): 1967-1974.

 Varda, D., VanRaemdonck L., Tung, G., Hogg, R., and Atherly A. (2016). “A Conceptual Framework for the Study of Hospital Interaction and Investment in Public Health Systems.” Frontiers in Public Health Services and Systems Research, 5(5): 1-5.

 Varda, D. Hardy, R., Millar, A., and Talmi A. (2016). “Public Health, Mental Health, and Primary Care Differences in Urban and Rural Counties in a System of Care for Children with Special Healthcare Needs”. Journal of Health Systems and Policy Research, 3(3): 1-7.

 Acosta, J., Howard, S., Chandra, A., Varda, D.M., Sprong, S., and Uscher-Pines, L.. (2015). “Healthcare Coalitions Contributions to Preparedness and Resilience: Perspectives from Hospital Preparedness Program and Healthcare Preparedness Coalitions (CHEM)”, Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness, 9(6): 690-697.

 Bevc, Christine A.; Retrum, Jessica H.; Varda, Danielle M. 2015. "Patterns in PARTNERing across Public Health Collaboratives." Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 12, no. 10: 12412-12425. Special Issue: Social Network Analysis and Public Health.

Litt, J., Varda, D., Reed, H., Retrum, J., Tabak, R., Gustat, J. and Tompkins, N. (2015). How to Identify Success Among Networks that Promote Active Living. American Journal of Public Health, 105, 11, 2298-2305.

Varda, Danielle and Jessica H. Retrum. (2015). Collaborative Performance as a Function of Network Members’ Perceptions of Success, Public Performance & Management Review, 38:4, 632-653

Bevc, C., Retrum, J. and Varda, D. (2015). “New Perspectives on the "Silo Effect" - Initial Comparisons of Network Structures across Public Health Collaboratives”. American Journal of Public Health. V105(S2), S230-S235.

Shoup, J, Gaglio, B., Varda, D. and Glasgow, R. (2015). “Network analysis of RE-AIM framework: Chronology of the field and the connectivity of its contributors”. Translational Behavioral Medicine: Practice, Policy, and Research. 5(2), 216-232.

Varda, D., Retrum, J., and Chapman C. (2014) “Exploring the Process, Models, and Outcomes of Hospital-Public Health Partnerships,” Frontiers in Public Health Systems and Services Research, 3(2): 1-5.

Retrum, J., Chapman C. and Varda, D. (2013) “Implications of Network Structure on Public Health Collaboratives” Journal of Health Education and Behavior. 40(IS): 13S-23S.

*Winner: 1st Runner Up in the AcademyHealth PHSR Best Article of the Year Award

Varda, Danielle M. and Talmi, Ayelet (2013) "A Patient-Centered Approach for Evaluating Public Health Roles within Systems of Care for Children with Special Healthcare Needs," Frontiers in Public Health Services and Systems Research: Vol. 2: No. 1, Article 7. Available at:

Varda, D.M., J.H. Retrum, and K.Kuenzi. (2012). "The Influence of Teaching Methodology on Student Social Interaction", Journal of Public Affairs Education 18(4), 633-660.

Varda, Danielle M. and Jessica H. Retrum. (2012). "An Exploratory Analysis of Network Characteristics and Quality of Interactions Among Public Health Collaboratives". Journal of Public Health Research. 1(2), 170-176.

Varda, Danielle M., Jo Ann Shoup, and Sara E Miller. (2012). “A systematic review of collaboration and network research in the public affairs literature: implications for public health practice and research.”, American Journal of Public Health, 102(3):564-7.

Varda, Danielle M. (2011). “A Network Perspective on State–Society Synergy to Increase Community-Level Social Capital”, Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 40(5): 896-923.

Varda, Danielle M. (2011). “Data-Driven Management Strategies in Public Health Collaboratives”, Journal of Public Health Management and Practice, 17(2), 122-132.

Varda, Danielle M., Rich Forgette, David Banks, and Noshir Contractor. (2009). "Social Network Methodology in the Study of Disasters: Issues and Insights Prompted by Post-Katrina Research” Population Research & Policy Review, 28 (1): 11-29.

Peter deLeon and Varda, Danielle M (2009).  “Toward a Theory of Collaborative Policy Networks: Identifying Structural Tendencies”.  Policy Studies Journal. 37(1): 59-74.

Mendel, Peter, Cheryl L. Damberg, Melony E.S. Sorbero, Danielle M. Varda, and Donna O. Farley. (2009) “The Growth of Partnerships to Support Patient Safety Practice Adoption.” Health Services Research, Special Issue, 42 (2): 717-738.

Varda, Danielle M. and Jo Arney (2009). “Management of Interorganizational Intersectoral (ISIO) Cause-Based Networks:  The Case of Firm Participation in Voluntary Environmental Sustainability Programs.” Journal of Public Management and Social Policy, v15(2).

Derose, Kathryn and Danielle M. Varda. (2009)  “Social Capital and Health Care Access: A Systematic Review.”  Medical Care Research and Review, 66: 272-306.

Paarlberg, Laurie and Danielle M. Varda. (2009) “Community Carrying Capacity: A Network Perspective.” Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly 38: 597-613.

Varda, Danielle M., Anita Chandra, Stefanie Stern, and Nicole Lurie (2008). “Core Dimensions of Connectivity in Public Health Collaboratives” Journal of Public Health Management and Practice, 14(5): E1-E7.

Melinda Moore, Edward Chan, Nicole Lurie, Agnes Gereben Schaefer, Danielle M. Varda and John A Zambrano. (2008) “Strategies to improve global influenza surveillance: A decision tool for policymakers.”  BMC Public Health8:186.

Book Chapters:

Varda, D. 2016. “Strategies for Researching Social Networks in Disaster Response, Recover, and Mitigation.” Jones, E. and A.J. Faas. Social Network Analysis of Disaster Response, Recovery, and Adaptation. (41-56). Elsvevier.

Ronfeldt, David and Danielle M. Varda. (2010). Prospects of Cyberocracy Revisited. In I.L. Horowitz (Ed.), Culture and Civilization (pp. 130-146). New Brunswick: Rutgers.

deLeon, Peter and Danielle M Vogenbeck. (2006) “The Policy Sciences at the Crossroads,” Fischer, Frank et al (eds). Handbook of Public Policy Analysis: Theory, Politics, and Methods, Taylor and Francis.

deLeon, Peter and Danielle M Vogenbeck. (2005) “Back to Square One: A History and Projection of the Policy Sciences,” John Raben et al (eds.) Public Administration: A Handbook, third edition, NY: Marcel Dekker. | Physical Address: 1380 Lawrence St., Ste. 500  Denver, CO  80204 | Mailing Address: University of Colorado Denver, SPA, Campus Box 142, P.O. Box 173364, Denver, CO 80217-3364 | ph: 303.315.2228 | fax: 303.315.2229 | SPA Website Feedback

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