P4HE workshop series: Community-based system dynamics

Individual Author(s) / Organizational Author
Headen, Irene
Partners for Advancing Health Equity
November 2023
P4HE Workshop Series
Abstract / Description

The Partners for Advancing Health Equity (P4HE) Research Learning Collaborative hosted our third workshop series, which was focused on Community-Based System Dynamics (CBSD). CBSD is a participatory method for engaging and working with communities and organizations to address complex issues across a variety of contexts and cultures. With roots in system dynamics, group model building, and community-engaged research, CBSD is employed globally in research and practice settings to tackle “messy problems” by engaging community members.

This 3-workshop series introduced participants to CBSD, with emphasis on applications of CBSD to promote health equity. The course provided participants with facilitation techniques for managing and engaging stakeholders; designing and structuring workshops; and opportunities to gain feedback on applying CBSD to a problem of interest or ongoing work. This course also began to develop a skill set of tools central to the use of system dynamics, such as qualitative causal mapping and creating a dynamic problem statement.
This 3-part workshop series created a space for attendees to:

  • Understand CBSD and its relationship to other systems science methods, systems thinking, and system dynamics.
  • Identify and define problems most appropriate for CBSD.
  • Learn to utilize best practices in CBSD to define problems and design community-based participatory workshops.
  • Identify facilitation strategies and scripts (e.g,. Scriptapedia) to enhance group-based participatory experiences and workshop design.
  •  Practice the use of qualitative causal loop diagrams to discuss and illustrate system behavior.


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