Applying Systems Thinking in Public health

By Support

Applying Systems Thinking in Public health

Public health professionals must work across various sectors and with key stakeholders such
as other professionals and community groups in order to improve health outcomes. Often,
these stakeholders have competing interests and conflicting ideas about health, and about
what would be the most effective ways to meet public health needs and outcomes.
Stakeholders may not even share the same values related to improving public health.
In some cases, using a system thinking or intersectoral approach may pose many challenges
for implementation.

To prepare for this assessment, choose one public health issue (e.g. obesity, a chronic
disease) in any country for which it is obvious that a systems thinking approach has not
been, or is not being, applied. Then in approximately 1000 words (+/- 10%):
• Describe the public health issue.
• Explain the roles of stakeholders, both within the health system and in other
sectors in addressing this issue.
• Drawing on research evidence, explain the obstacles that are preventing the
application of the systems thinking approach to this issue.
• Based on the literature, offer suggestions (e.g. new governance arrangements)
for how systems thinking approach could be applied to this issue.

Report Structure
Your report should follow the following structure. The word count includes the introduction, body and

Assessment Criteria
• Demonstrated knowledge and understanding of systems thinking and an intersectoral
approach (20%)
• Shows the ability to interpret and analyse relevant information and literature on systems
thinking and an intersectoral approach (30%)
• Demonstrates the ability to apply knowledge and understanding of systems thinking and
an intersectoral approach to a public health problem (30%)
• Use of academic conventions including appropriate resources and referencing (20%)
o Uses key readings and shows evidence of reading beyond the key reading
o There is a lucid introduction and clear conclusion summary
o Complies with normal academic of referencing and bibliographical details
(including reference list, use APA style)
o Is written clearly with accurate spelling, grammar and sentence and paragraph