Online Program

Agent-based models of health disparities

Monday, November 4, 2013

Ernest Moy, MD, MPH, Center for Quality Improvement and Patient Safety, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), Rockville, MD
Background. Models can improve understanding of complex systems. In agent-based models, mobile agents are programmed to interact with each other and an environment. The micro-level behavior of individual agents can be varied and the effects on macro-level phenomena observed.

Objective. To develop agent-based models of health disparities.

Methods. NetLogo, a free open-source agent-based modeling environment, was used to develop models of health disparities. Data from the 2010 Census for the District of Columbia were used to design an environment that models potential effects of parks, supermarkets, fitness centers, highways, Superfund sites, and doctor's offices on health. Agents interact in this environment to visualize the effects of health resources, health care disparities, and residential segregation, separately and in combination, on disparities in health.

Discussion. Agent-based models can be used to illustrate the interaction of environment, segregation, and health care disparities on health. Such models may help policymakers recognize these phenomena and design interventions to reduce their impact.

Website: (Java required.)

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Communication and informatics
Diversity and culture
Public health or related education
Social and behavioral sciences
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Describe agent-based models of health disparities Demonstrate how to change parameters of an agent-based model of health disparities

Keyword(s): Health Disparities, Interactive Communication

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I perform research on health disparities and programmed the models that will be presented.
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.

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