PRCHN continues seminar series with social network analysis discussion

PRCHNThe Prevention Research Center for Healthy Neighborhoods (PRCHN) at Case Western Reserve University will continue its seminar series with a presentation by visiting speaker Kimberly Bess, assistant professor of human and organizational development at Vanderbilt University.

Bess’ presentation, titled “Social Network Analysis: Building Community Health and Relational Well-being,” will address the issues of social connections in the age of Facebook and Twitter. Bess will explore the ways in which social network analysis, as a paradigm and a method, can be used to better understand the relational aspects of individual and community health and well being. She will introduce foundational social network concepts and discuss them in relation to findings from two social network studies.

The first study explores the social support networks of parents living in a high-poverty urban neighborhood; the other investigates the collaboration networks of organizations involved in youth violence prevention. The studies, though different in their level of analysis and approach, illustrate the important contributions social network analysis can make to understanding the relational dynamics within communities, informing local intervention systems, and improving the lives of individuals in concrete ways.

Trained as a community psychologist, Bess studies the role community-based organizations play in improving the health, educational, and social outcomes of children and families living in high-poverty communities. Her work explores how programs, services, and collaborative change initiatives facilitate or impede individual and community change. In particular, she is interested in the relational aspects of change, focusing on the ways in which social settings can foster the development of social networks and social capital. Her recent work includes: an investigation of parent education programs as contexts for reducing isolation and improving relational well-being in public housing communities; a social network study of collaboration among organizations involved in youth violence prevention; and most recently, research that supports the development and implementation of Nashville Promise Neighborhood.

The discussion is Wednesday, Sept. 10, from noon to 1:15 p.m. on the ground floor of the BioEnterprise Building, where the PRCHN seminars are held the second Wednesday of every month.

Contact Kathy Kelly at for more information about the PRCHN seminar series.