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Using the Principles of Complex Systems Thinking and Implementation Science to Enhance Maternal and Child Health Program Planning and Delivery
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  • Alternative Title:
    Matern Child Health J
  • Description:
    Traditionally, epidemiologic methodologies have focused on measurement of exposures, outcomes, and program impact through reductionistic, yet complex statistical modeling. Although not new to the field of epidemiology, two frameworks that provide epidemiologists with a foundation for understanding the complex contexts in which programs and policies are implemented were presented to maternal and child health (MCH) professionals at the 2012 co-hosted 18th Annual MCH Epidemiology Conference and 22nd CityMatCH Urban Leadership Conference. The complex systems approach offers researchers in MCH the opportunity to understand the functioning of social, medical, environmental, and behavioral factors within the context of implemented public health programs. Implementation science provides researchers with a framework to translate the evidence-based program interventions into practices and policies that impact health outcomes. Both approaches offer MCH epidemiologists conceptual frameworks with which to re-envision how programs are implemented, monitored, evaluated, and reported to the larger public health audience. By using these approaches, researchers can begin to understand and measure the broader public health context, account for the dynamic interplay of the social environment, and ultimately, develop more effective MCH programs and policies.

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