A new course from Johns Hopkins University’s School of Public Health provides an introduction to systems thinking and systems models in public health.
Problems in public health and health policy are often complex. Solutions are hard to sustain. Systems thinking is a core skill in public health that helps health policymakers build programs and policies that are aware of complexity and prepared for unintended consequences. An important part of systems thinking is the practice of integrating multiple perspectives into a framework or model that can describe and communicate the various ways in which a system might react to policy change. Sharing a broad understanding of problems and policies helps draw in the wisdom of all stakeholders in an ongoing cycle of error detection and correction. This course provides an introduction to systems thinking and systems models in public health. The emphasis is on learning by doing: making diagrams of complex systems, sharing systems diagrams with stakeholder groups, and using simulation software to deepen understanding of systems.
Who should enroll: Public health practitioners, health system managers, policy-makers, and students interested in learning and applying systems thinking methods to their work.
How to enroll: Pre-enroll now by visiting https://www.coursera.org/learn/systems-thinking/. The first cohort of the course will begin 2/15/2016 and a new cohort will commence on the third Monday of every month.
This work was coordinated by the Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research, the World Health Organization, with the aid of a grant from the International Development Research Centre, Ottawa, Canada. Additional support was provided by the Department for International Development (DFID) through a grant (PO5467) to Future Health Systems research consortium.