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Denise Bellows Kumar

Pronouns: She/Her

Senior Research Director
Denise brings training in community-based participatory research to lead projects contributing to the evidence base and policy landscape.

Denise has been working in public health research and evaluation, contributing primarily to mixed-methods research studies since 2005 (18 years). At NORC, Denise brings her training in community-based participatory research and experience in mixed-method evaluation to lead and support projects and studies related to patient-centered outcomes research for federal clients.

More recently, Denise has brought vast experience convening stakeholder meetings and leading large qualitative data collection tasks to her roles as Project Director for the PCORI’s Peer Review Process Analysis and PCORI’s Stakeholder Convening projects. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she has contributed experience in survey data management, disease surveillance, and project leadership to her role as Production Manager for the Maryland COVID Contact Tracing project.

Prior to NORC, Denise served as State agency liaison to improve data quality and prepare public reports for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). She also led a team that pioneered the development of an interactive, web-based data dashboard using Tableau to synthesize disease burden and strength of evidence data to support research topic prioritization. The dashboard incorporated Medicare (MEPS) data, hospital cost and utilization (HCUP) data, mortality data, bibliographic data, and data on research protocols and clinical guidelines. 

At the University of Maryland, Denise led the pilot study of the Prevention Research Center (UMD-PRC), examining cross-jurisdictional collaboration for STD and HIV prevention. She developed strategic community partnerships and held leadership roles in community coalitions in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. She also established a peer education program that trains students to support community organizations through outreach, bi-directional learning, and research engagement activities.



University of Maryland College Park School of Public Health


University of Maryland College Park School of Public Health

Appointments & Affiliations

Board Secretary

Heart to Hand, Inc.

Honors & Awards

Team Recognition Award for Enterprise Salesforce CRM Team | 2021

NORC at the University of Chicago

Team Recognition Award for Maryland Contact Tracing Team | 2020

NORC at the University of Chicago

Outstanding Service Award | 2013

University of Maryland Prevention Research Center

Fellowship | 2008

University of Maryland School of Public Health, Public Health Informatics Laboratory

Project Contributions

PCOR Resource Center for Data Infrastructure

Bolstering federal efforts to expand and improve data capacity for patient-centered outcomes research


Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation