Systems Thinking to Improve the Public's Health
Improving population health requires understanding and changing societal structures and functions, but countervailing forces sometimes undermine those changes, thus reflecting the adaptive complexity inherent in public health systems. The purpose of this paper is to propose systems thinking as a conceptual rubric for the practice of team science in public health, and transdisciplinary, translational research as a catalyst for promoting the functional efficiency of science. The paper lays a foundation for the conceptual understanding of systems thinking and transdisciplinary research, and will provide illustrative examples within and beyond public health. A set of recommendations for a systems-centric approach to translational science will be presented.