Using Systems Thinking and Tools to Solve Public Health Problems

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.
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