10/16/17

Public Health is a Complex Systems Problem. When will we finally embrace this fact?


My point is simple enough.  Consider the difference in the following two research questions:
1. How do we help people addicted to opioids overcome their problem?
2. Versus, how do we fix the health systems in which people live so they are less likely to become addicted to opioids?
Or how about this research question?
1. How do we help poor people deal with their health vulnerabilities?
2. Versus, how do we fix the communities and systems in which people live so that poverty is not a vulnerability to their health?
In neither case is the difference between these research questions one of psychology versus sociology.  Instead, it is a difference between a reductionist perspective and a complex systems view. The difference is also a matter of method: conventional variable-focused statistics versus computational methods focused on systems and cases and intersectionality.  Public policy and community health and clinical care research needs to change -- as do the views of people in general.  The world is too complex to keep thinking the way most continue to do.

As a primer, read the following book we wrote in 2015.



See also Battle-Fisher's excellent book:



See also the work being done at CECAN on complex nexus issues, which takes the issue of complexity to another level, at which point one is confronted with how the complexities of one public policy issue (and the changes made to address it) intersect and impact other policy issues and vice versa.
 


And, for an equally exhaustive and wider read on this view as concerns health and healthcare, go to the New England Complex Systems Institute and read through the excellent work by Bar-Yam and colleagues.    













10/3/17

Wonderful 2 minute Video on Our Globally Interconnected Web of Life

Saw this on twitter and was so impressed with it.  Just a wonderful example of our ecological interdependence and Capra's constant call for us to acknowledge our complex global web of life.