Online Program

Applying systems thinking and system dynamics principles to model cumulative risk in environmental justice communities

Monday, November 4, 2013 : 8:30 a.m. - 8:50 a.m.

John Prochaska, DrPH, MPH, Department of Preventive Medicine & Community Health, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX
In real-world situations, populations can be exposed to multiple toxics through multiple routes, leading to potentially synergistic negative impacts on health and quality of life. Further, these populations may be already burdened with risks from various social determinants of health, particularly within environmental justice communities. Accounting for the accumulation of risks to health due to these multiple sources has proved challenging. One approach being considered is the utilization of principles from the systems sciences methodologies (particularly system dynamics modeling) to improve understanding of the processes that lead to risk accumulation from both environmental and social sources. By modeling the stocks and flows within the system of an environmental justice community, it may be possible to better understand the mechanisms by which these accumulations lead to the creation and perpetuation of increased cumulative risk and disparities related to health and quality of life outcomes for residents of environmental justice communities. This understanding, in turn, may yield additional insight on potential intervention strategies to reduce or mitigate cumulative risk burdens within these vulnerable populations.

Learning Areas:

Environmental health sciences
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
List environmental and social sources of risk to health Define elements of a dynamic system Discuss cumulative risk from a systems science perspective

Keyword(s): Environmental Justice, Risk Assessment

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have worked on examining cumulative risk from a systems perspective for 2 years. I was an attendee at the NIH/CDC sponsored Institute for Systems Sciences and Health in 2010.
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.