Podcast: Building and Sustaining Effective Networks to Improve Community Health

Danielle Varda, PhD, Visible Network Labs

Dr. Danielle Varda is a “scientist turned start-up founder” who is the CEO of Visible Network Labs, a social enterprise that provides tools, training, and other services to help communities build their capacity to leverage network science to strengthen supportive connections and improve health outcomes. In her work, she leads multidisciplinary teams in tackling complex social systems issues using technology, research, and translation to practice. In this episode, Dr. Varda discusses how to build effective networks and shares strategies and bright spots to guide communities that are building multi-sector collaborations to improve health.

Additional Resources:

This podcast is also available on iTunesStitcher, and TuneIn.

Takeaways from the Interview

In the words of Dr. Danielle Varda…

1. When building network connections, prioritize quality over quantity

“More is not better. Networks, their nodes and lines as they fill up inside, get really overwhelmed. If we just continue to build more and more connections, they start to lose that collaborative advantage.”

2. Make sure all network members have access to skill building resources

“Network leadership is inclusive, meaning everyone in the network is deserving and needs to think about skill building – whether it’s the citizen who participates, the community organization, or the backbone organization.”

3. Be intentional about the role of each network member and their time commitment

“As you’re building a network, give everyone a role, really think about who should be playing what role, only ask them to play that role when it’s going to be activated, and let them off the hook for all the other meetings.”

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