Dr. Kim's research contributes to the field by advancing systems thinking as it relates to complex policy and management problems. She is interested in examining why and how undesirable problems and events occur, and how to respond to seemingly insoluble problems. In specific, she is interested in investigating the way in which a complex adaptive systems perspective and associated analytical tools (e.g., computational simulation modeling, qualitative comparative analysis, and social network analysis) provide useful insights to address questions such as these. Two projects below highlight her substantive and methodological interests.
Since Dr. Kim joined Arizona State University, her early interest in supporting Ohio Medicaid and WIC decisions at the Ohio Department of Health expanded to studying emerging infectious disease outbreaks, such as that of 2009 H1N1. In collaboration with an epidemiologist, an applied mathematician, and practitioners at the Arizona Department of Health Services, her work in this research area focused on understanding how the Arizona public perceives the risk of the new disease and is prepared for it, as well as how to support critical government decisions during the outbreak. Recently, she joined an interdisciplinary research team at a university in Seoul, South Korea. She is examining the way in which inter-organizational emergency response networks (collaboration and conflict networks) formed and evolved during the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome outbreak in Seoul in May-June 2015.
She has also been interested in understanding environmental justice problems, planning, and policy. During a collaboration of approximately six years, she and her colleagues (Heather Campbell and Adam Eckerd) wrote several research articles on environmental injustice topics and a refereed book, Rethinking Environmental Justice in Sustainable Cities: Insights from Agent-Based Modeling. In this book, they showed how and why environmental injustice needs to be approached as an emergent phenomenon of dynamic urban systems, and, if we use developing analytical tools such as agent-based modeling, what knowledge we can gain that is not readily obtained via other modes of inquiry. Building upon this work and experience in environmental injustice, she and her colleagues currently are developing a new research project on community involvement and civic capacity in the context of environmental risks. As a separate line of research with two other colleagues at Arizona State University, she is developing a research project on green space and equity.