Building a new system for the generation and use of public health evidence

  • The Health Foundation has commissioned a project to further the development and building of a new system for the generation and use of public health evidence. This will build on recent work by Dr Harry Rutter moving from a description of the problem to identifying and implementing practical responses in research funding and policy action.
  • Led by Dr Harry Rutter, Professor of Global Public Health, at the University of Bath. 
  • Due to complete April 2019.

The health of individuals and populations is determined by genetic, social, economic, environmental and commercial factors, such that outcomes can rarely be traced to a single, direct cause.  Overcoming public health challenges requires interventions that aim to shift systems and determinants of health, rather than just single factors or individual level behaviour. This project thus proposes the use of a complex systems framework in public health research and practice.

Over the next two years, in several, related strands of work Dr Rutter will:

  • Examine the reasons why a systems perspective is needed, the methodological approaches required and key actions for engaging policymakers and practitioners in such thinking.
  • Conduct a review of existing methods for research and an evaluation of public health interventions within the context of complex systems, to identify useful methodologies.
  • Synthesise relevant systems approaches to the conceptualisation and evaluation of public health interventions to propose a model evaluation framework, which will be applied in a series of case studies.
  • Work with research funders to influence the strategic distribution of their grants in favour of research into upstream and system level actions.
  • Engage and collaborate with policymakers and practitioners to encourage the adoption of complex systems approaches where appropriate.
  • Disseminate findings through publication in peer reviewed journals, non-technical reports and elsewhere.
  • Support the Health Foundation in establishing a network of public health practitioners to support and disseminate this work.

Contact information

For more information about this project, please contact Dr Harry Rutter, Professor of Global Public Health, at the University of Bath.

Further reading

Briefing

The need for a complex systems model of evidence for public health

A Viewpoint paper that outlines the need for new approaches to designing and evaluating population-level interventions to imp...

Event

Webinar: System mapping as a tool for action

Interested in complex system mapping, but unsure about how it can help you find solutions to public health challenges in your...

Event

Webinar: Complex public health challenges and local action

This webinar will be helpful for those working in public health and local government.

You might also like...

Press release

Future health of the next generation at risk due to lack of opportunities in home towns

The Health Foundation is warning that the core building blocks for a healthy future - a place to call home, potential for sec...

Event

Webinar: System mapping as a tool for action

Interested in complex system mapping, but unsure about how it can help you find solutions to public health challenges in your...

Consultation response

Local Government Spending

Our response to the Public Accounts Committee inquiry into Local Government Spending.

Kjell-bubble-diagramArtboard 101

Work with us

We look for talented and passionate individuals as everyone at the Health Foundation has an important role to play.

View current vacancies
Artboard 101 copy 2

The Q Community

Q is an initiative connecting people with improvement expertise across the UK.

Find out more