193803 Using a Systems Dynamics Framework to Improve State Health Policymaking

Monday, November 9, 2009: 8:30 AM

Karen Minyard, PHD , Georgia Health Policy Center, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA
Rachel Ferencik, MPA , Georgia Health Policy Center, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA
Mary Ann Phillips, MPH , Georgia Health Policy Center, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA
The Legislative Health Policy Certificate Program was created for lawmakers who want to improve their understanding of health and health care. The objectives of the program were to develop a cadre of legislators with more in-depth knowledge and understanding of health policy issues and to use systems dynamics and systems thinking to encourage broader and more systemic approaches to policymaking.

Eleven legislators and four legislative staff completed the full certificate program, which required participation in the first four “core” sessions and at least two of four issue-specific sessions (six sessions total). Twenty-six legislators and ten staff attended individual sessions. Participants included both major political parties in the state Senate and House of Representatives. Preliminary evaluations are positive and legislators are beginning to use the skills developed in this program. Committee chairs are interested in examining current policy initiatives from a systems perspective.

This program is creating a cadre of state legislators who approach challenging health policy problems with an eye toward high leverage, sustainable solutions and reform. Especially for states without full-time legislative staff, a systems thinking educational curriculum can provide lawmakers with valuable tools to examine policy issues. Systems thinking enables policy makers to expand their conceptualizations of health reform, encouraging legislators to consider the health impacts of social, economic, environmental and other policies. This curriculum can be adapted and used by states to improve policymakers' understanding of various complex health policy issues.

Learning Objectives:
List six questions that policymakers can use to assess policy issues from a systems perspective.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Executive Director, Georgia Health Policy Center
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.