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Using Systems Thinking and Tools to Solve Public Health Problems

Wednesday, December 14, 2011 -
3:00pm to 4:00pm
Click here to view the webinar

Public health researchers and practitioners often work to solve complex population and health issues, such as obesity and chronic disease, which are deeply embedded within the fabric of society.  As such, the solutions often require intervention and engagement with key stakeholders and organizations across many levels ranging from local entities (schools, churches, and work environments) to regional systems (health departments and hospital networks) to entire countries (national agencies).   This multi-level, multi-participant view is at the heart of systems thinking, a process of understanding how parts influence one another within a whole. 

During December’s NCI Research to Reality (R2R) cyber-seminar, Dr. Allan Best will provide an overview of system thinking and practical tools to help navigate and analyze complex systems.  Drs. Ross Brownson and Ken McLeroy will then provide real-world examples of how systems models can be applied in a variety of settings.  Dr. Brownson will highlight the use of concept mapping, and discuss the different levels that should be considered when implementing evidence-based programs within organizations or developing public health policies.  Dr. McLeroy will focus on the use of social network analysis as a tool to analyze community capacity and ensure that organizations and communities are working together to develop, implement, evaluate, and sustain effective programs. 

Join us as we take a look at public health issues through a systems lens, and learn how your community and the programs, policies, and research you implement might benefit from this perspective.

For more information about systems thinking, please view some background materials provided below.


Learning Objectives

At the end of the cyber-seminar, participants will be able to:

  • Understand the value of looking through a systems lens to frame implementation tools and processes within the broader context of an organization.
  • Describe practical tools, such as system dynamics modeling, concept mapping, and social network analysis that foster effective knowledge to action to improve public health.
  • Discuss challenges for implementation science and for moving research into practice through effective and sustainable health policies and programs.


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