Principal Consultant ~ Lori Baugh Littlejohns, BSW, MSc, PhD
I have a passion for health promotion that's lasted for over 30 years and I continue to be curious and love learning. My resume includes a wide variety of leadership positions, in diverse settings and for a range of organizations (hospitals, regional health authorities, communities, schools, professional and nongovernmental associations, local and provincial governments and universities) in Canada and Australia. I am a seasoned professional with knowledge and skill in planning, implementing and evaluating initiatives. I call Invermere (British Columbia, Canada) home where my partner and I love to walk, hike and ski in the mountains, swim in the many lakes, and canoe the mighty Columbia River ~ with Eddy.
COMPLEX SYSTEMS THINKING IN HEALTH PROMOTION AND PREVENTION
My mission is to work with people to take complex systems thinking approaches to strengthen health promotion and prevention research, policy and practice. For me, the goal of health promotion and prevention is to reduce health and social inequities through action on priority determinants of health.
There are no right ways to approach complex systems thinking and my approach is based the wisdom of many before me and continual learning from others along side me. Interactions, feedback and emergence are core concepts and the following diagram illustrates key elements of my approach.
Why 'Eddy Turn' Consulting
Enhance understanding of ever-changing systems.
Describe and assess context.
Map interactions and relationships among people and organizations.
Deliberate on forces that influence circular feedback loops and patterns in systems.
Design feasible and important strategies to strengthen systems.
Monitor and evaluate systems change and set up the next turn.
I love paddling a canoe down a river and it is important to be able to complete effective eddy turns. This became a good analogy for consulting in complex systems thinking.
Eddy means circular current. Effective eddy turns are important because they move paddlers
from turbulent main currents of a river system to calmer waters. Turning into an eddy allows paddlers time to pause, reflect and decide together on the next path. Assessing the context ~ like the structure of the boat, power of the currents, and the challenges of rocks and fallen trees ~ is a necessary skill.
While in the eddy, paddlers design the next part of the journey by making judgements about things like speed, momentum, place and time to start, and amount of paddle in the water.
Once decisions are made, it is time to eddy out. This is where paddlers keep their eye upstream and
move with the drift and momentum to carry them downstream.
Circle of Health
"The Circle of Health is an interactive framework and tool that provides a complete picture of the components of health at a glance. Appealing to academics, community members, policy makers and others who are working with individuals, families and communities to promote health and well being, the Circle of Health is an exemplary tool for education, planning, collaboration and evaluation?" circleofhealth.net
Attributes of Effective Systems
Baugh Littlejohns, L. & Wilson, A. (2019). Strengthening complex systems for chronic disease prevention: A systematic review. BMC Public Health. Vol 19, Issue 729.
Open Access https://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12889-019-7021-9
Example of feedback loops and leverage points in a health promotion system
Baugh Littlejohns, L., Baum, F., Lawless, A., & Freeman, T. (2018 ). The value of a causal loop diagram in exploring the complex interplay of factors that influence health promotion in a multisectoral health system in Australia. Health Research Policy and Systems. Open Access: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6310960/
Baugh Littlejohns, L. Examining a framework for describing, assessing and strenghthening systems for chronic disease prevention. 23rd IUHPE Conference on Health Promotion, 7-11 April 2019, Rotorua, Aotearoa, New Zealand.