New Publication: Systems Thinking for Effective Interventions in Global Environmental Health


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New Publication: Systems Thinking for Effective Interventions in Global Environmental Health

This Perspective describes three broadly applicable opportunities that may improve health outcomes for people disproportionately affected by environmental risks.

Environmental health risks such as household air pollution due to burning solid fuels, inadequate water, sanitation, and hygiene, and chemical pollution disproportionately affect the poorest and most marginalized populations. While billions of dollars and countless hours of research have been applied toward addressing these issues in both development and humanitarian contexts, many interventions fail to achieve or sustain desired outcomes over time. This pattern points to the perpetuation of linear thinking, despite the complex nature of environmental health within these contexts. There is a need and an opportunity to engage in critical reflection of the dominant paradigms in the global environmental health community, including how they affect decision-making and collective learning. These paradigms should be
adapted as needed toward the integration of diverse perspectives and the uptake of systems thinking. Participatory modeling, complexity-aware monitoring, and virtual simulation modeling can help achieve this. Additionally, virtual simulation modeling is relatively inexpensive and can provide a low-stakes environment for testing interventions before implementation.

Link to open access article:

Thanks for your interest, and I'm looking forward to your thoughts, comments, and suggestions!

-Martha McAlister

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