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University of Colorado Denver

School of Public Affairs


Danielle Varda, 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

Bio: Danielle M. Varda is an Associate Professor at the School of Public Affairs, University of Colorado Denver with a secondary appointment in the Colorado School of Public Health, Department of Health Systems, Management, and Policy. She is Co-Director of the Nonprofit Concentration, Advisor to the Dual MPA-MPH Degree, and Director of the Research Program on Collaborative Governance. She also sits on the AmeriCorps NCCC Federal Advisory Board, and is an alumn of the AmeriCorps NCCC (Class 5 and 6). Dr. Varda joins SPA from the RAND Corporation, where she worked as an Associate Policy Scientist from 2005-2008.

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. She has developed models and methods of network measurement, for example she has developed a research model for measuring social capital by evaluating the network structure of local community networks, including developing questionnaires and analysis of diverse network data. In addition, with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, is the developer of a software tool (PARTNER, that 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 600 communities in 30 countries and all over the US. PARTNER, and it's suite of tools, technical assistance, and training has become a well-known resource for communities working to build their community networks and systems building.  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 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.  Her research portfolio includes projects in the areas of maternal/child health, public health preparedness, nonprofit community networks, and systems evaluation. She is an experienced interviewer, facilitator, and has extensive experience developing and administering surveys. Her research has been funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the CO Department of Public Health and Environment, the CO Trust, the RAND Corporation, the Department of Health and Human Services (Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response), Veterans Administration, University of Kentucky School of Public Health, and the Department of Defense.
Dr. Varda coordinates the annual Network Leadership Training Academy (for more info click here). The NLTA is a place where public sector leaders gather to learn, share ideas, and develop skills for engaging in the "network way of working". The workshop is focused on building, managing, and evaluating effective networks.
She is the mother of three young girls, who together with her husband, spend as much time camping, skiing, and boating the Colorado rivers as possible.
Select Publications:
Retrum, J., Chapman C. and Varda, D. (2013) “Implications of Network Structure on Public Health Collaborative” 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.
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 Forgetter, 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. Samberg, Melony E.S. Sober, 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 Grebe Schaefer, Danielle M. Varda and John A Zambrano. (2008) “Strategies to improve global influenza surveillance: A decision tool for policymakers.”  BMC Public Health8:186. | 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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