Introduction to the Science of Networks

September 2019
Visible Network Labs

Danielle Varda, PhD, is the CEO and co-founder of Visible Network Labs, and Co-Director of the Center on Network Science at the UC-Denver School of Public Affairs. Dr. Varda created the PARTNER Tool for network analysis in 2011 and implemented it with more than 2,500 networks in all 50 states. She has written numerous publications and spoken extensively on topics like network leadership, network evaluation, and network analysis.

In a short moment we can all think of and imagine the immense diversity of networks that are forming all across our country. We know that networks are born out of the needs of their rural communities, especially during these complex times of change and transition within the health care environment. But we want to know more about how-to strategically build robust networks and how-to measure and evaluate the effectiveness of networks. We need to learn about the science of networks.

In a recent RHND grantee workshop, grantees learned not only about basic network science but also how to visualize and study their own networks to leverage key strategies. The network leaders mapped the current state of their networks and then mapped the ideal state of their networks. This exercise created an opportunity for network leaders to strategically think about network relationships. The result of this kind of network thinking opens the door for figuring out how to be strategic in managing networks and how to measure and evaluation the strength and vitality of their network. 


  • Learn how networks form
  • Identify strategies that guide effective networks
  • Consider what data is needed to manage networks strategically