Monday, June 24, 2013

Systems thinking expanding in the health field?

Like in most fields there is no shortage of systemic health issues that would benefit from attention by practitioners and researchers well versed in Systems Thinking in Practice (STiP). It is thus good to discern a trend of increasing interest and application of STiP in the health field.  Take this paper for example:

Rethinking health systems strengthening: key systems thinking tools and strategies for transformational change

  1. Allan Best10
+ Author Affiliations
  1. 1Brigham Young University, Provo, UT, USA, 2Health Services Research and International Health, Institute for Maternal and Child Health, Trieste, Italy, 3Yale School of Public Health, Global Health Leadership Institute, New Haven, CT, USA, 4National Health Foundation, Bangkok, Thailand, 5Imperial College Business School and Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College London, UK, 6Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA, USA, 7International Hellenic University, Thessaloniki, Greece, 8Swansea University, Swansea, Wales, UK, 9University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, USA and 10Centre for Clinical Epidemiology and Evaluation, Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute, University of British Columbia, West Vancouver, BC, Canada
  1. *Corresponding author. Brigham Young University, 1668 North 1590 West, Provo, UT 84604, USA. 

While reaching consensus on future plans to address current global health challenges is far from easy, there is broad agreement that reductionist approaches that suggest a limited set of targeted interventions to improve health around the world are inadequate. We argue that a comprehensive systems perspective should guide health practice, education, research and policy. We propose key ‘systems thinking’ tools and strategies that have the potential for transformational change in health systems. Three overarching themes span these tools and strategies: collaboration across disciplines, sectors and organizations; ongoing, iterative learning; and transformational leadership. The proposed tools and strategies in this paper can be applied, in varying degrees, to every organization within health systems, from families and communities to national ministries of health. While our categorization is necessarily incomplete, this initial effort will provide a valuable contribution to the health systems strengthening debate, as the need for a more systemic, rigorous perspective in health has never been greater.

My colleague Helen Wilding advises that Chad Swanson has recently been working with a group of interns to disseminate the potential of systems thinking to build capacity in global health.  They received funding from Doris Duke Charitable Foundation to do this. They are planning a social media launch (facebook, twitter, a blog and LinkedIn) and are also preparing a number of 'white papers'.

Their website/blog is up and running.  

I wish them well 


Rachel D.Wickert said...

Really interested in Chad's initiative but your link to their blog doesn't seem to work?
Would you mind sending me the info directly at please?
Many thanks in advance,

Ray said...

I have refreshed the links - for the article home page click on one of the authors. For Blog try link in my second last line.