Systems Thinking: Through A Public Health Lens

Category: Strategic Skills

Course Goal

This course is designed to introduce participants to the idea of systems thinking.

Intended Audience

Public health practice professionals


The length of time for participants to take this course is estimated to be one hour.

Course Content

This course will cover:

  • Systems thinking and leadership
  • Accreditation and systems thinking
  • A call to action
  • Application from the field

Measurable Outcome

At the end of this training, you will be able to apply the principles of systems thinking to relevant public health issues.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this module, you will be able to:

1. Describe the connection between leadership and system thinking.

2. Explain system thinking through the social ecological model lens.

3. Recognize selected Public Health accreditation components as a system thinking approach, and

4. Explore action steps to adopt the strategic skills in given scenarios.

Certificate of Completion

A Certificate of Completion is awarded on successful completion of this course. In order to successfully complete this course, you MUST:

Score 70% or higher on the posttest. If you do not receive 70% on the posttest, you may review the material and re-take the posttest.

Core Competencies for Public Health Professionals

Domain 7: Financial Planning and Management Skills - Tier  3

7C15. Establishes performance management systems (e.g., visible leadership, performance standards, performance measurement, reporting progress, quality improvement)

Domain 8: Leadership and Systems Thinking Skills - Tier 1 & 2

8B2. Describes public health as part of a larger inter-related system of organizations that influence the health of populations at local, national, and global levels

Presenter(s) and/or Content Experts

Subject Matter Experts: Sonja Armbruster, MA, Jessica Fiscus, MPH, Mitchell, Taylor, and Suzanne Hawley, PhD

Expert from the Field: Dr. Jennifer Green, PhD, MPH
Administrative Director and Local Health Officer Riley County Health Department, Manhattan, Kansas.


The following organizations collaborated on the development of this course: Wichita State University Community Engagement Institute, Center for Public Health Initiative (WSU); University of Iowa College of Public Health Institute for Public Health Practice (UICPH-IPHP); and Midwestern Public Health Training Center (MPHTC).