Kate Eddens joined the Indiana University Network Science Institute (IUNI) in 2017 as an Assistant Research Scientist. Previously, she was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Health, Behavior & Society at the University of Kentucky College of Public Health and an Associate Member of the Markey Cancer Center’s Cancer Prevention and Control Program. Her research investigates how social networks, word-of-mouth communication, and innovative technology can improve the reach and effectiveness of health communication, connecting underserved populations to health services, support, and solutions. To leverage the power of social networks and technology to impact the lives of marginalized populations, Dr. Eddens and Dr. Jesse Fagan created OpenEddi, a dynamic, mobile-based network data collection program. Dr. Eddens’ work on developing OpenEddi for use in low literacy populations was discussed in “The Cancer Epidemic in Central Appalachia” article in Newsweek’s Special Health Issue Curing Cancer. Building upon the foundational concept of OpenEddi, Dr. Eddens and the IUNI IT team are building a new network data collection platform. Dr. Eddens is designing and building additional mHealth tools upon this platform that incorporate the power of personal networks and social capital to provide comprehensive support for cancer patients, caregivers, and survivors while allowing cancer care teams to provide improved, patient-centered care. Dr. Eddens intends to expand this patient-centered tool to support other chronic diseases, mental health, substance abuse recovery, criminal justice systems, and more.
Dr. Eddens holds a doctorate from Washington University in St. Louis where she trained at the Health Communication Research Laboratory, an NCI-funded Center for Excellence in Cancer Communication. She has a Master of Public Health in Epidemiology and Behavioral Science from Saint Louis University School of Public Health. She serves as the Editor-in-Chief of JMIR Cancer, and is a section editor of Journal of Medical Internet Research. Dr. Eddens enjoys promoting the advancement of women in the sciences, and served as a founding steering team member of #IAmAWomanInSTEM, an initiative on the University of Kentucky campus to engage, empower, and retain women in undergraduate STEM majors.