Spotlight on… Kaley Bachinski & Dr. Amanda Beacom – Visible Network Labs

Dr. Amanda Beacom, VP of Research and Data Science & Kaley Bachinski, Senior Project Manager.

The RECETAS partnership is rich in interdisciplinarity and expertise on topics related to mental health, loneliness and nature-based solutions.
How do our partners work on loneliness? How are they involved in RECETAS? Each month, one or more of our experts answer our questions!

🎤 Can you briefly introduce yourself and the purpose of the organization you work for?

Kaley: My name is Kaley Bachinski, and I am a Senior Project Manager at Visible Network Labs (VNL). I am joined by Dr. Amanda Beacom, VP of Research and Data Science, as well as Dr. Danielle Varda, our CEO and founder. Visible Network Labs is a social enterprise committed to helping people, organizations, and communities use network science to increase their capacity to make a positive difference in the world. Our team is committed to strengthening social connectedness and improving social care and health.

🎤 For which areas do you offer your solutions? Who are the main users of your services?

Kaley: VNL uses network science to map and strengthen the connections that influence health and well-being. Our software visualizes networks to create actionable insights that strengthen organizational impact. At the systems-level, we provide data and insights to help organizations build more effective networks and partnerships. At the personal-level, we create visibility into patient support networks to help improve their care, health and well-being.

We work with all types of organizations and communities ranging from foundations, public health departments, nonprofits and more.

🎤 How did you come to study social networks among organizations but also individuals?

Amanda: Early in my career, I worked at several different health-related NGOs and became interested in how new knowledge and practices are diffused and adopted among health providers. When I began my PhD program, there were several professors in the program who studied social networks, and I quickly realized that network science was an excellent lens through which to understand how organizations and people collaborate and share knowledge and support with one another.

🎤 What aspects of your job are you most passionate about?

Kaley: My favorite aspect of my job is all of the amazing partners I have the opportunity and pleasure to work with on various projects. Every single one is working towards making the world a better place. Each client is working on a different goal and/or area of interest (education, health, digital equity, etc.), but no matter their mission we can use our PARTNER platform and support them in applying network science to their work, with the overall goal of improving outcomes. I am grateful to have the opportunity to collaborate with amazing individuals doing meaningful, and innovative work across the globe.

Amanda: I agree with Kaley – our partners’ work is so inspiring!

🎤 How are you involved in the RECETAS project? Can you describe the mission you work on? Have you been confronted with any challenges?

Kaley: As part of RECETAS Work Package 2, we (VNL) conducted an organizational social network analysis in collaboration with each of the six project sites: Helsinki, Melbourne, Cuenca, Barcelona, Marseille and Prague. The goal of the social network analysis was to better understand how stakeholders at each of the project sites are currently working to address mental health, well-being, through social prescribing and nature-based activities. Working on the RECETAS Project has been a very rewarding experience. This project is very timely with COVID-19 bringing to the forefront the epidemic of loneliness. I am so proud to work for a company that provides a solution to help tackle complex problems. Through PARTNER we were able to visualize the networks in each city that are addressing mental health, well-being and loneliness through social prescribing and nature-based activities. This data has been used to help inform the community building and intervention work of upcoming work packages that are part of the RECETAS research project.

The biggest challenge was working across different time zones with the different project teams, and adapting the survey to different languages and cultures. It was incredibly important to our team to ensure the survey resonated with each city and that the language used was appropriate and easy to understand, especially since network science is a more novel concept outside of the United States.

🎤 What are your next challenges as a researcher? Have you any project you are developing?

Kaley: This is a five year project and we are looking forward to seeing how VNL’s role in the project shaped the community building and intervention work of upcoming work packages. In the meantime, we are constantly innovating and working to improve our products (PARTNER and PARTNERme). We learn so much from our partners through their use of the product and their thoughts and feedback and invaluable to us!

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