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Collaborative project launches web site

Posted May. 7, 2010

The collaboration among a Kent State University at Ashtabula professor, student and staff member could lead to the campus being considered an international research center in the application of complexity science to the study of health and health care. The Center for Complexity Science in Health has just launched its web site.

The term, complexity science, is often used to describe the academic field that has grown up around the study of complex adaptive systems. Complexity science is not a single theory— it encompasses more than one theoretical framework and is highly interdisciplinary, seeking the answers to some fundamental questions about living, adaptable, changeable systems.

Examples of complex adaptive systems include the stock market, social insect and ant colonies, the biosphere and the ecosystem, the brain and the immune system, the cell and the developing embryo, manufacturing businesses and any human social group-based endeavor in a cultural and social system such as political parties or communities.

Leading the way is Kent State at Ashtabula Associate Professor of Sociology and Director of CCH Brian Castellani, Research Coordinator for Computational Modeling & IT Resources Michael Ball and Graduate Assistant Kenneth Carvalho.

According to the new web site:

The Center for Complexity in Health (CCH) promotes the application of complexity science to the study of health and health care through a cross-disciplinary program of teaching, training and research.

The CCH's application of complexity science includes complex systems thinking, computational modeling, network analysis, data mining, and qualitative and historical approaches to complexity. The CCH is specifically committed to collaborating with health care centers and practitioners in Ashtabula County, Ohio; and to students and faculty at Kent State University. The CCH is affiliated with the Robert S. Morrison Health and Science Building, Kent State University at Ashtabula. Other affiliations we are working on include Kent State University's College of Public Health and the Kent-Summa Institute for Clinical and Translational Research.

The center will have several foci:

·     Becoming a leading international research center in the application of complexity science to the study of health and health care;

·     Generating revenue for our campus through extramural funding;

·     Fostering interdisciplinary research with faculty at the Ashtabula campus, as well as Kent State University and other universities;

·     Developing our undergraduate student population's skills in science, technology and mathematics in application to health and health care, particularly public health;

·     Developing collaborative research relations with local health agencies and businesses to promote the public health of Ashtabula County.

The current topics of the CCH are:

·     Studying how communities, as complex systems, impact residential health, particularly in disadvantaged communities;

·     Developing new tools for measuring and teaching medical students, residents, and clinical faculty about the challenges of medical professionalism in today's complex health care system, both nationally and globally;

·     Using network analysis to research how medical learning environments shape nurses and physicians;

·     Studying how public educational systems impact the health and wellbeing of children.

·     Developing the SACS Toolkit, a new method for studying health and health care from a complexity science perspective