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A systems approach to community health and wellbeing


Morgan, Michelle, A systems approach to community health and wellbeing, West Coast workshop outcomes, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Tasmania, pp. 1-47. (2022) [Report Other]

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In 2022, a research project was undertaken in the West Coast local government area in Tasmania to test a systems thinking approach to community health and wellbeing. This project was led by the University of Tasmania (UTAS) with support from the Tasmanian Department of Health (DoH), the Australian Prevention Partnership Centre, West Coast Council (WCC), and The Systems School. The project involved initial engagement between UTAS/DoH and WCC and the establishment of a Local Advisory Group (LAG) to inform the development and evaluation of the project.

The systems approach to community health and wellbeing was tested in two half-day workshops, which were undertaken at WCC chambers in Queenstown over 6-7 July 2022. The aims of the workshops were to increase participants' systems thinking capacities; better understand the causes of health and wellbeing outcomes in the WCC local government area and identify opportunities to improve those outcomes from a systems perspective; and assess if the systems approach tested is a suitable alternative to systematic approaches to strategic planning. Michelle Morgan, a PhD candidate at UTAS and Healthy Communities Policy Officer at DoH designed and facilitated the workshop process with input from people from the supporting organisations mentioned previously.

The LAG identified and invited participants from a diverse range of organisations to participate in the workshops. Participation in both workshops was recommended as the second day of the workshop was a continuation from the first. Fifteen people participated in the workshops and three others provided input via email.

The workshop process involved a brief overview of systems thinking and systems change and participants undertook a mini-systemic inquiry process informed by a Systems Change Framework (Davidson & Morgan, 2018) and systems and complexity theories. The systemic inquiry process involved four key stages: (1) define situation; (2) gain clarity; (3) find leverage; and (4) act strategically. Embedded throughout the process were systems practices, such as being aware of your mental model, engaging with diverse perspectives, using visual modelling, and regular reflection.

Item Details

Item Type:Report Other
Keywords:local government, systems thinking, preventive health, health
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Policy and administration
Research Field:Social policy
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Evaluation of health and support services
Objective Field:Determinants of health
UTAS Author:Morgan, Michelle (Ms Michelle Morgan)
ID Code:153335
Year Published:2022
Deposited By:Geography and Spatial Science
Deposited On:2022-09-14
Last Modified:2022-09-15

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