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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

UTexas, Galveston: Team Evaluates the Potential for Examining Cumulative Risks to Health Using a Systems Science Method

Dr. John Prochaska and colleagues evaluated the utility of a system science approach in better understanding environmental and social sources of risk to health. In their publication, just released in Environmental Research, they propose that system dynamics modeling can provide a framework for examining the complexity of real-world social and environmental exposures among populations — particularly those populations exposed to multiple disparate sources of risk. Systems science, with particular focus on the methodology of system dynamics, can advance the understanding of cumulative risk and further complement existing techniques for assessing risks to the health of individuals and in populations. Using system dynamics modeling, the system of cumulative risk can be understood in such a way that the complexity of the model stems from accumulation of materials, exposures, information, feedback loops, and time delays. This allows conceptualization of dynamic interactions among different sources of risk and their combined impacts on health-related outcomes. Further, this method, through simulation, can aid in discovering leverage points for future interventions and policy strategies aimed at reducing cumulative risk.

Read more about this team’s work.