Public health issues are increasingly described as complex or ‘wicked’ because they are often deeply embedded in the fabric of society and prove challenging to address. Complex systems thinking takes into account the context of public health problems. It considers the various levels on which public health can be addressed (local, regional, national and international), and the range of sectors involved (health, education, housing, leisure, etc.).
The ‘Structure of the obesity system’ map, presented in the Foresight ‘Tackling Obesities’ report, is an example of how a complex systems approach can be used to better understand and address public health issues.
The new Complex Systems Research Programme cuts across Fuse’s new research programmes by aiming to develop initiatives that bridge research, policy and action. The Programme covers a range of topics, including decision making for commissioning, food policy, community care for chronic illnesses, and implementation of Europe’s Health 2020 policy framework.
Its two main themes are:
The Complex Systems research programme objectives are to:
Our network includes: