Commentary on Leveraging Systems Science to Understand COVID-19 and Its Public Health Sequelae

Main Article Content

Jessica Burke Jessica Thompson Christina Mair Robert Coulter

Abstract

We advocate for the use a systems science approach to uncover and understand the systems affecting and affected by COVID- 19 and conducted a group model building project to create a causal loop diagram illustrating the relationships between COVID-19 and multiple health issues. The diagram includes 16 variables and multiple feedback loops in our causal loop diagram of the impact of COVID-19 on people’s lives and well-being. This commentary highlights three loops to illustrate the complex interrelationships within the system of factors. The first loop highlights the impact that structural interventions. such as closing all bars or restricting capacity/operating hours, can have on COVID-19. The second loop illustrates the reason that school closures are a good idea for controlling the spread of COVID-19, and also highlights the consequence that closing schools has on social isolation. The final loop addresses how social isolation to protect against infections contributes to poor mental health and the varied associated responses.  Our fairly straightforward and simple exercise can serve as an example for others committed to addressing public health challenges and improving community health and well-being. We believe that public health researchers and practitioners must move beyond what is easy and known, embrace complexity and leverage systems science to understand COVID-19, its public health sequelae and intervention opportunities.

Article Details

How to Cite
BURKE, Jessica et al. Commentary on Leveraging Systems Science to Understand COVID-19 and Its Public Health Sequelae. Medical Research Archives, [S.l.], v. 10, n. 7, july 2022. ISSN 2375-1924. Available at: <https://esmed.org/MRA/mra/article/view/2931>. Date accessed: 08 aug. 2022. doi: https://doi.org/10.18103/mra.v10i7.2931.
Section
Research Articles

References

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13. Wittenborn AK, Rahmandad H, Rick J, et al. Depression as a systemic syndrome: mapping the feedback loops of major depressive disorder. Psychol Med. 2016;46(3):551-562.
14. Sahin O, Salim H, Suprun E, Richards R, MacAskill S, Heilgeist S, Rutherford S, Steward RA, Beal CD. Developing a Preliminary Causal Loop Diagram for Understanding the Wicked Complexity of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Systems 2020, 8(2), 20.
i C, Janiri L, et al. Danger in danger: Interpersonal violence during COVID-19 quarantine. Psychiatry Research. 2020 Apr 30:113046.
4. Raj A, Johns NE, Barker KM, et al. Time from COVID-19 shutdown, gender-based violence exposure, and mental health outcomes among a state representative sample of California residents. EClinicalMedicine. 2020 Sep;26:100520.
5. Burke JG, Thompson JR, Mabry PL, et al. Introduction to the Theme Issue on Dynamics of Health Behavior: Revisiting Systems Science for Population Health. Health Educ Behav. 2020;47(2):185‐190.
6. Mabry PL, Olster DH, Morgan GD, et al. Interdisciplinarity and systems science to improve population health: a view from the NIH Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research. American Journal of Preventive Medicine. 2008 Aug 1;35(2):S211-24.
7. Peters DH. The application of systems thinking in health: why use systems thinking? Health Res Policy Syst. 2014 Aug 26;12:51.
8. Vennix JA. Group model building: Facilitating team learning using system dynamics. Wiley Chichester; 1996.
9. Hovmand P. Community Based System Dynamics. Springer; 2014.
10. Bala BK, Arshad FM, Noh KM. Causal Loop Diagrams. In: System Dynamics: Modeling and Simulation. Singapore: Springer Singapore; 2017.
11. McGlashan J, Johnstone M, Creighton D, et al. Quantifying a Systems Map: Network Analysis of a Childhood Obesity Causal Loop Diagram. PLoS One. 2016;11(10).
12. Yourkavitch J, Hassmiller Lich K, et al. Interactions among poverty, gender, and health systems affect women's participation in services to prevent HIV transmission from mother to child: A causal loop analysis. PLoS One. 2018;13(5): e0197239.
13. Wittenborn AK, Rahmandad H, Rick J, et al. Depression as a systemic syndrome: mapping the feedback loops of major depressive disorder. Psychol Med. 2016;46(3):551-562.
14. Sahin O, Salim H, Suprun E, Richards R, MacAskill S, Heilgeist S, Rutherford S, Steward RA, Beal CD. Developing a Preliminary Causal Loop Diagram for Understanding the Wicked Complexity of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Systems 2020, 8(2), 20.