Public health professionals must work across various sectors and with key stakeholders such as other professionals and community groups in order to improve health outcomes. Often, these stakeholders have competing interests and conflicting ideas about health, and about what would be the most effective ways to meet public health needs and outcomes. Stakeholders may not even share the same values related to improving public health. In some cases, using a systems thinking or intersectoral approach may pose many challenges for implementation.
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To prepare for this assessment, choose one public health issue (e.g. obesity, a chronic disease) in any country for which it is obvious that a systems thinking approach has not been, or is not being, applied. Then in approximately 1000 words (+/- 10%):
• Describe the public health issue.
• Explain the roles of stakeholders, both within the health system and in other sectors in addressing this issue.
• Drawing on research evidence, explain the obstacles that are preventing the application of a systems thinking approach to this issue.
• Based on the literature, offer suggestions (e.g. new governance arrangements) for how a systems thinking approach could be applied to this issue.