Reflections from a workshop on using a systems approach

Workshop in partnership with CEIPS on Thurs 12 March at VicHealth.

In evaluation research, a systems approach provides a conceptual vocabulary and toolkit for improving our understanding of the relationships among the social processes that make programs and interventions ‘work’ as a whole.

In the W3 project we used a systems approach to develop a mid-level program theory for peer and community based health promotion. Here is our theory:

peer-and-community-based health promotion programs mediate between two complex adaptive systems, their target communities and policy environment, and the programs need to fulfil four key functions – engagement, adaptation, influence and alignment – in order to remain effective and sustainable in a constantly changing environment.

In early March we held a workshop with our colleagues at the Centre of Excellence in Implementation and Prevention Science (CEIPS) on using a systems approach in evaluation research with community-based health promotion programs.

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