A Complex Systems Approach to Prevention in the South East Region of Victoria



Intro: Collective Impact and complex systems thinking have been the drivers for innovation and regional preventive work in the south east region of Victoria. The impetus of having two State funded Healthy Together Victoria councils in our region, charged with the challenging role of creating a prevention system to reduce obesity rates, created strong relationships and built the capacity of the health promotion workforce to think complex systems in public health and prevention. Method: Monash Health Community capitalised on this increased investment in Health Promotion and formed a Prevention Leadership Group with representatives from State and Local Governments, and managers of all Health Promotion funded services in the south east region. The Prevention Leadership Group strives to lead contemporary health promotion practice in the region. The first task was to build the capacity of the leaders in complex systems thinking to ensure that we think and speak in a systems way. Outcomes: A common health priority for all partner organisations was established and with support Deakin University support a causal loop diagram was created which allowed partners to view the issue with more depth and understanding of influences and connections. Relevant leverage and resistance points were identified to intervene in and strategies were embedded within Municipal Health and Wellbeing Plans of the three local Governments and Integrated Health Promotion Plans of partner organisations. Conclusion: With evaluation systems in place this partnership will be able to share learnings as well as failures in our attempt to apply systems thinking in the public health space. Key Messages 1. Partnerships 2. Workforce development 3. Regional approaches


Trish Plompen

Monash Health