PHS Monday Seminar – “Tangled Up in Threats & Costs: How Can Data-Based Dynamic Systems Modeling Reveal Which Priorities are Most Important for County Health and Well-Being?”

Population Health Sciences

Monday Seminar Series

Monday, April 1st, 2019
12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
1335 Health Sciences Learning Center

Presented by:
Bobby Milstein, PhD, MPH
Director of System Strategy,
ReThink Health Visiting Scientist,
MIT Sloan School of Management
Jack Homer, PhD
Senior System Dynamics Consultant,
ReThink Health Visiting Scientist,
MIT Sloan School of Management

Counties across America must contend with multiple, intertwined threats and costs that defy simple solutions. Decision-makers, therefore, face a necessary but difficult task to prioritize interventions with the greatest potential to produce equitable health and well-being. We devised a novel way of using data from the County Health Rankings to account for regional complexities such as the particular mix and magnitude of prevailing threats, as well as interconnections and time delays among them. We illustrate the value of this technique by comparing the likely impact of 12 potential interventions within each county in a single peer group of 39 urban counties. The results show that the most important interventions in any given county are not necessarily apparent when looking at a simple profile of strengths and weaknesses. Indeed, our analysis suggests that the list of top-ranked interventions is strikingly similar in different places, even though they face widely different threat profiles. Together with seminar participants, we will explore implications for designing regional intervention portfolios and establishing widely-shared investment priorities.

For further information, please see our website: or contact Rosalind Bendix-Lewis at 265-0516

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This post was authored by Rosalind Bendix-Lewis on 03/27/2019.