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New Director of Research and Evaluation Brings Data and Fitness to the Network!

By: Kelsey Gurganus, Director of Research and Evaluation, DVN

My name is Kelsey Gurganus and I am the new Director of Research and Evaluation for the Domestic Violence Network (DVN).  I am excited to be part of such an awesome organization that is working to engage the Central Indiana community to end domestic violence!  

Fun fact: I am the first Epidemiologist to join DVN!  I am loving the idea of bringing my public health and data expertise to an organization that is already thriving in advocacy, education, and collaboration.  Prior to joining the incredible DVN crew, I spent nearly six years at the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH).  Half my time at ISDH was spent as the Director of Maternal and Child Health Epidemiology.  A pretty common misconception is that Epidemiology is the study of skin.  While that is definitely a logical and common guess, Epidemiology is actually the study of the distribution and determinants of health-related events or outcomes.  In public health, you typically use the information (often in the form of data visualizations like charts or graphs) from an Epidemiologist to inform programs or policies that will ultimately prevent and/or control the particular disease or problem being targeted.  For example, think about the long-known link between smoking and lung cancer.  Now, think about all of the public health programs, policies, and laws we now have revolving around tobacco products (e.g. city bans on smoking in public places, increased taxes, etc.).  That certainly did not happen overnight, and it all was possible because of Epidemiology!

Much of my time at ISDH was spent working on projects focused on preventing infant mortality and improving pregnancy and birth outcomes in Indiana.  There is definitely a link between trauma, domestic violence, and maternal and child health outcomes.  I look forward to diving into that research in the future and sharing more in future blogs on that topic!  

Fitness Spotlight fun!

On a personal note, I am probably best known for being the “crazy runner” in the group.  I often spend my free time training for my next marathon.  Something about the process of training for an endurance event that requires so much dedication, hard work, and patience is beautiful!  We really emphasize “self care” in our line of work, and running and fitness is DEFINITELY my self care.  I am currently training for my fourth Boston Marathon and I cannot wait to once again cross the infamous finish line stripe in April on Boylston Street! The DVN team may already be sick of me in my “training mode” since I have been trying to implement a new daily “Fitness Spotlight!”  The goal is to make sure our team gets up and moves a few times a day.  To be our best, we must feel our best. They are such a dedicated crew to our Network! 

I look forward to learning, growing, collaborating, and MOVING more with our Central Indiana Network in my new role with DVN.  The future is BRIGHT, Indy!

 

 

 

 

 

Written by Kelsey Gurganus, Director of Research and Evaluation