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STEPS/FHS Workshop on Complex Adaptive Systems in Health Systems in LMICs

16th June 2014 - 18th June 2014

Mt. Washington Conference Center and the Center for Advanced Modeling in the Social, Behavioral, and Health Sciences, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA

Health systems are seen as a complex adaptive system (CAS), with multiple actors and relationships operating in difficult and changing contexts, with many points of intervention, and numerous intended and unintended consequences that can improve or damage people’s health. Health systems are designed to improve people’s health, but also serve to protect people from impoverishment due to illness or the cost of health care, and be seen as providing trusted and responsive services. Although CAS frameworks are increasingly recognized as relevant to understanding health systems, health systems researchers have to date not taken advantage of CAS research methods to inform interventions that will be effective on a large scale and in sustainable ways.

This invitation-only workshop on CAS in Health Systems in LMICS is sponsored by the Future Health Systems (FHS) Research Consortium and the STEPS Centre (Social, Technological and Environmental Pathways to Sustainability). FHS and STEPS are particularly concerned with policies, programs, and individual level interventions promote and protect people’s health and wellbeing, particularly vulnerable and disadvantaged populations.

The workshop is intended to bring together junior and more experienced researchers to better explore applications of concepts of complexity to the analysis of health systems in LMICS, gain hands-on experience, and develop current research projects. Participants would bring their current research plans, protocols, and data, to work on their own research, as well as on collective examples to develop their research.

The workshop will provide a forum for collaboration with researchers in different disciplines and groups to learn different tools and research applications, and provide opportunity for hands-on skills building through which researchers with interest in CAS issues and in the initial stages of applying CAS tools and methods can connect with researchers who have had experience applying CAS approaches to health. The specific objectives are to:
– Improve understanding of CAS models that can be used to understand and intervene in health systems in LMICs
– Gain hands-on skills for applying CAS approaches and tools to health systems research questions, particularly related to their FHS project questions
– Identify specific analyses and publications by junior and mid-level FHS researchers
– Produce a draft history of the FHS intervention in their research sites since the research began in 2006
– Identify grant and other research opportunities involving collaboration on CAS related research questions in health systems


16th June 2014
18th June 2014
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Jeff Kenzovich