Systems Thinking for Health


Health systems are amongst the most complex that people have to deal with. This one-day workshop will – through a mix of short presentations and group exercises for a practical “learning by doing” approach – equip participants better to navigate the maze of a complex, connected and ever-changing health system. Participants will develop practical skills to decipher this complexity and to apply this understanding to the design of effective interventions.

The workshop is aimed at introducing systems thinking approaches to health and other professionals and is relevant to all those dealing with complex and inter-connected issues in health and care i.e. a wide range of NHS, Local Authority, private and voluntary sector staff including doctors, nurses, managers and community and public health specialists. 

The workshop will comprise a mix of short presentations and group exercises for a practical “learning by doing” approach. It will be led by an accomplished presenter and facilitator with extensive experience in health systems thinking and modelling. 

Participants should be, or about to become, involved in the design and management of complex health and care interventions such as those involving multiple stakeholders (e.g. families, businesses, voluntary organisations) and linkage to wider systems (e.g. social care, education, employment).

This is not a course for analysts; no technical knowledge of systems thinking or modelling is required.

By the end of the workshop participants will be better able to:

·   Understand key systems concepts such as the difference between static and dynamic thinking, tree-by-tree and forest thinking, and straight-line and closed-loop thinking

·   Map the components and interconnections of a health system

·   Appreciate the value of systems thinking approaches when time and data are in short supply or problems are ill-defined

·   Know when (and when not) to use systems modelling and behavioural simulation approaches

·   Understand the role of social and other networks in health

·   Understand how to achieve large impacts with small inputs and to make effective interventions in complex dynamic situations.

Course delivered by:
Geoff Royston

If you would like any further information please contact Marion Deacon on

Cancellations due to unforeseen circumstances may occur at any time.  Where dates are varied by PHAST, course participants may request a full refund if the new dates are not convenient. Please see our full cancellation policy.



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