The Fund supports several networks of state health policymakers to help identify, inspire, and inform policy leaders.
The Fund identifies and shares policy ideas and analysis on topics important to state health policymakers, particularly on issues related to state leadership, primary care, aging, and health care costs.
Keep up with news and updates from the Milbank Memorial Fund. And read the latest blogs from our thought leaders, including Fund President Christopher F. Koller.
The Fund publishes The Milbank Quarterly, as well as reports, issues briefs, and case studies on topics important to health policy leaders.
The Milbank Memorial Fund is an endowed operating foundation that publishes The Milbank Quarterly, commissions projects, and convenes state health policy decision makers on issues they identify as important to population health.
Jørgen Dejgård Jensen
Srinivasa Vittal Katikireddi
Back to The Milbank Quarterly
Context: The high burden of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) is politically salient and eminently preventable. However, effective solutions largely continue to elude the public health community. Two pressing issues heighten this challenge: the first is the public health community’s narrow approach to addressing NCDs, and the second is the involvement of corporate actors in policymaking. While NCDs are often conceptualized in terms of individual-level risk factors, we argue that they should be reframed as products of a complex system. This article explores the value of a systems approach to understanding NCDs as an emergent property of a complex system, with a focus on commercial actors.
Methods: Drawing on Donella Meadows’s systems thinking framework, this article examines how a systems perspective may be used to analyze the commercial determinants of NCDs and, specifically, how unhealthy commodity industries influence public health policy.
Findings: Unhealthy commodity industries actively design and shape the NCD policy system, intervene at different levels of the system to gain agency over policy and politics, and legitimize their presence in public health policy decisions.
Conclusions: It should be possible to apply the principles of systems thinking to other complex public health issues, not just NCDs. Such an approach should be tested and refined for other complex public health challenges.
Keywords: systems thinking, noncommunicable diseases, unhealthy commodity industries.
Read on Wiley Online Library
Volume 96, Issue 3 (pages 472-498) DOI: 10.1111/1468-0009.12339 Published in 2018
Apr 6, 2021
Mar 30, 2021
Get the Latest from the Milbank Memorial Fund
The Milbank Quarterly’s multidisciplinary approach and commitment to applying the best empirical research to practical policymaking offers in-depth assessments of the social, economic, political, historical, legal, and ethical dimensions of health and health care policy.