Building public health skills in systems science modeling

8/5/2015 feature story

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Elizabeth Eve Bruch

Project Information:

Dynamic Systems Science Modeling for Public Health

The demand for skills in systems science methods for health research far outstrips the supply of instructors able to teach these skills. This project creates, evaluates, refines, and disseminates a course on Dynamic Systems Science Modeling for Public Health, which incorporates the popular approaches of both system dynamics and agent-based modeling. The course under development is a one-week workshop on dynamic systems science methods, which will be iteratively evaluated and refined for maximum impact and accessibility and then packaged as a stand-alone set of materials for broad distribution in public health education. The course materials use interactive exercises and practical, structured mechanisms to introduce students to basic motivations for systems science; the notions, strengths, and limitations of models; the problems of framing and scoping; and the basic perspective and model building blocks of each of the two dynamic systems science approaches. Materials will also discuss processes such as sensitivity analysis and model testing – common to both approaches, varied ways of leveraging data with a dynamic model, and preparing models for publication. Targeted promotion and a generous allocation of earmarked scholarships will help ensure that under-represented groups are well-represented among its US-based target audience.

Elizabeth Eve Bruch

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