NEWS | March 24, 2015

UC Davis nursing professor presents at Institute of Medicine roundtable on health care technology


Katherine Kim, assistant professor at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis, presents today at The Institute of Medicine, Roundtable on Health Literacy workshop, “Health Literacy and Health Information Technology,” in Washington, District of Columbia. Kim’s research on adapting technology for use by Native American populations is among topics examining how technology is used to make health decisions.

Katherine Kim Katherine Kim

“I’m excited about the opportunity to share with institute members my perspectives on how technology can be a tool for empowerment and community health,” Kim said.

“This invitation recognizes the substantial contribution of Kathy and demonstrates that technologic innovation must be informed by the real-life needs and strengths of underserved communities,” added Jill Joseph, associate dean for research at the School of Nursing. “In an amazingly short period of time, the School of Nursing has contributed to improving health through innovative technology.”

Kim recently concluded a three-year project that partners with youth of the Karuk Tribe in Northern California to assess the barriers to and aids for healthy living. The multistate and multi-institutional research, through a U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Security Grant, aims to achieve a sustainable food system in the Klamath Basin that results in healthy communities and ecosystems among the Native American tribes who live there.

“Special populations, such as Native Americans, underserved or rural residents, don’t have access to health care delivered by people who understand their environment, culture or language.

Technology has the power to bridge that divide where sometimes humans cannot,” Kim explained. “We can quickly adapt mobile technologies and social networking applications to fit very specialized needs and meet user perspectives in order to solve problems.”

Kim, who earned her doctoral degree from the School of Nursing, led a team who trained Karuk youth to serve as researchers within their own community. Together, they developed a survey and learned how to use mobile tools to put it into practice. In this case, Kim used software originally developed for community-health workers in Uganda and ran it on iPods operating without Internet connectivity. The youth formulated questions, then interviewed community members regarding access to fruits and vegetables, views about their health and challenges to being healthy. Data collected from the community will be published later this year in a report co-authored by the student researchers.

Kim shares with the institute panel both her experience in the Klamath Basin and how it can be applied to health-care systems as a whole.

“I want to convey that participatory design, which is learning both the features users want and the context in which they will use them, is exactly what patient centeredness is in health care,” Kim explained. “With mobile technology we can tailor health programs for each individual or group of people, rather than rely on a one-size-fits-all approach.”

To view the Kim’s panel presentation, visit

About the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis
The Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis transforms health care through nursing education and research. Established in 2009 through a $100 million grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the school offers four graduate areas of study, including doctoral and master’s-degree programs in nursing science and health-care leadership and master’s-degree programs for nurse practitioners and physician assistants, with a focus on preparing primary-care providers for rural and underserved communities. The Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing is part of UC Davis Health System, an integrated, academic health system encompassing the UC Davis School of Medicine, UC Davis Medical Center and the UC Davis Medical Group. For more information, visit