Complex Systems, Health Disparities & Population Health: Building Bridges Forum

In 2014, The Network on Inequality, Complexity, and Health (NICH), led by George A. Kaplan, convened a conference supported by The Institute for Integrative Health and the NIH Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research entitled “Complex Systems, Health Disparities & Population Health: Building Bridges” – at the Natcher Conference Center on the NIH campus. 

The meeting brought together scholars and practitioners from the United States and abroad to learn about and see examples of how complex systems science could help guide research and policy efforts to eliminate health disparities and improve the health of our population. Presentations covered the methods and tools of complex systems and how they could be used to address critical determinants of health and health disparities over the life course, including those that involve the health care system, socioeconomic status and mobility, institutions, neighborhoods, behavior, cognitive processes, and neurosciences. 

Attending were researchers and policy makers from public and health sciences, social sciences, computer and engineering sciences, complex systems, health and social policy, government agencies, and funding agencies interested in eliminating health disparities and improving population health. The 801 people who registered for the conference came from 39 states and 19 countries. 

The work of NICH and much of the material presented at this conference is reported on in Kaplan GA, Diez Roux A, Simon CP, Galea S. (eds.) Growing Inequality: Bridging Complex Systems, Population Health, and Health Disparities. Washington, D.C: Westphalia Press, 2017.