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MIT System Dynamics Seminar: Applications of Community Based System Dynamics for Racial Equity

April 12, 2021 @ 9:00 am - 10:30 am EDT

Virtual Event Virtual Event

Please visit the MIT System Dynamics Seminars page for more information.

You are invited to attend the System Dynamics Seminar Series being held on Monday, April 12th from 9:00-10:30 am EST via Zoom: (password: SysDyn). Our guest speaker is Peter Hovmand (Case Western Reserve University)

Abstract: Community-based System Dynamics (CBSD) emerged as an approach to group model building for engaging communities in system dynamics modeling and applications. CBSD emphasized the role of community capacity building in system dynamics modeling and simulation and the co-creation of a shared language for understanding the dynamics of social inequities and structural violence. Key distinctions between CBSD and earlier practices in group model building are (1) the emphasis on introducing and learning conventions of system dynamics, (2) an early strengths-based social constructivist approach to introducing these conventions, (3) focus on building capacity within a particular community context versus a project focus, and (4) the principle that deep, rigorous insights into the behavior of feedback systems come through formal modeling with computer simulation. While the first two distinctions have been relatively easy to see and evaluate from experience, the latter two have been more difficult to observe directly because they involve engagement in multiple projects within a community context over time. Hence, the commitment to rigorous simulation modeling may seem an unfulfilled promissory note, not just with respect to rigor, but also the potential of applying system dynamics to advancing equity. This presentation responds by reflecting on examples of recent and ongoing applications of CBSD on racial equity and emergent community dynamics.

Peter S. Hovmand is the Pamela B. Davis MD Ph.D. Endowed Professor at the Center for Community Health Integrated, Case Western Reserve University. Prior to joining Case Western Reserve, Dr. Hovmand founded and led the Brown School’s Social System Design Lab at Washington University in St. Louis. Dr. Hovmand’s research focuses on understanding the systems that underlie structural violence and participatory methods for engaging communities and organizations to advance equity through design-driven innovation. Dr. Hovmand is the author of Community Based System Dynamics, a commissioner on the Lancet Commission on Obesity, and co-leads the System Dynamics Society’s Structural Racism Special Interest Group and Diversity Committee. Dr. Hovmand’s work has been supported by the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Lupina Foundation, SkipNV, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, National Academy of Medicine, and Google, Inc. among others. Applications of systems dynamics include gender-based violence, structural racism, child abuse and neglect, homelessness, child welfare workforce turnover, children and adult mental health, juvenile and criminal justice, primary care, substance abuse, environmental health, K-12 education and educational supports, obesity prevention, cancer, emergency medicine, implementation science, and diversity and inclusion in communities of practice.


April 12, 2021
9:00 am - 10:30 am EDT
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MIT System Dynamics Group
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