The Health Foundation is working with Dr Harry Rutter from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine to develop a new model of evidence that will inform the policy and action needed to mak...
The Health Foundation is working with Dr Harry Rutter from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine to develop a new model of evidence that will inform public health research, policy and practice.
As part of this work Dr Rutter and co-authors from the Health Foundation and around the world have published a new Viewpoint paper – The need for a complex systems model of evidence for public health – in The Lancet, which outlines the need for new approaches to designing and evaluating population-level interventions to improve health.
- We are faced with many big health challenges in our society. Their complex nature is an ongoing problem for public health research and policy.
- Such challenges often involve multiple factors operating over many decades in systems that adapt as changes occur. For example, the distribution of obesity in a population might be impacted by changes to food, employment, transport or economic systems.
- The traditional linear model of research is not suited to tackling these challenges. This is because it focuses largely on changes in individuals, not the population as a whole, and because it tends to look at isolated interventions rather than the contexts in which they take place.
- There is growing recognition that we need a new evidence model that looks at public health problems, and our potential responses, in terms of a complex systems approach.