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PhD of the month: Katherine Stacey Montgomery Brown

Katherine Brown started as PhD candidate at the Department of Information Systems this month. She will look at the challenges older people and immigrants experience when faced with digital health services.

Katherine Stacey Montgomery Brown profile picture
PhD candidate Katherine Stacey Montgomery Brown

About my background:

– My background is in cultural anthropology- I received my BA from Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minnesota, and then studied Applied Cultural Analysis at the University of Copenhagen just afterwards. Since then, I have been working in energy consulting and evaluation in Seattle, Washington. Academically, I have always been interested in migration and in equity- my bachelor's thesis was a feminist ethnographic study of (primarily female) "return migrants" to Turkey- ethnic Turks were born in Germany and moved "back" to Turkey for the first time as adults. I continued this work in a different form while I worked on my master's- conducting an ethnographic study of attitudes toward health among Muslim women in Copenhagen. My master's thesis shifted focus a bit, looking at homelessness in Seattle, but I was drawn to that from the lens of equity and inclusion as well. This position seemed like a natural fit methodologically, but also because I really care about these issues. I have worked on inclusion in Northern Europe before, and as someone who has moved back and forth across the Atlantic a lot, I spend a lot of time as an "outsider" and find it comforting to work through that feeling with academia.

About my research project:

– My project is part of the SOS project. At a very high level, I am asking how 'partially digital citizens' access digital healthcare services in Norway, and how the welfare state can further support patients and their support networks in accessing care. To understand the concept of 'partially digital citizen', I will be conducting research with two groups: older adults with limited digital capacities (partially digital), and immigrants to Norway (partial citizen). I anticipate that these groups will face many different challenges from each other in accessing and using digital health services, but that there will also be important similarities which may have implications for how those services should be designed. At its core, this research is about digital and societal inclusion and about understanding how to support non-standard users and their networks. I am new to the field of IS, but as digital solutions become more prevalent and, in some cases, mandated, I see the overlap between inclusion and digitalization as a crucial for the future.

Currently looking forward to:

– I am currently still in Seattle because of the restrictions on immigration, though I received my visa from UDI in February. Because of the strong vaccine roll-out here, I have now been fully vaccinated since mid-April, but the restrictions are quite challenging both for planning the move and for coordinating times to meet and get to know colleagues (the time difference is 9 hours). My husband and I purchased plane tickets for June 29th as I have a course the second week of July, but with the infection rate flat again, we are wondering if we will need to postpone again.

That being said, I am very excited for the move. I am looking forward to being in an academic environment again after the last few years in consulting. I am also really looking forward to more relaxed corona restrictions which will make it possible to work in an office again for the first time in 15 months (and counting). It is always hard to know exactly what to look forward to before a move, but I do know it will be great to be so near both the water and the forest and to be closer to family. In an attempt to make the move feel real, I bought concert tickets at Kilden for August, so I am tentatively looking forward to that as well.