Contemplating Better Public Health: Perspective is Everything

How might we apply the lessons from cigarette use to mental health promotion? How might we design programs, spaces, places, and social conventions that promote the quiet contemplative acts that come from taking that cigarette break and offer potentially great value to tobacco users without creating harmful effects for others?

Engaging design, complexity and imagining the systems that influence them both might yield considerable insight into how we manage other public health problems and how we might better promote mental health in the protection of physical well-being.

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Social Media and Health: Leaders(hip) and Followers(hip)

Systems thinking, design thinking, developmental evaluation, creativity, networks and innovation: these are the keywords for health in the coming years. They are as author Eric Topol calls the dawning of the creative destruction of medicine. The public is already using social media for health and now the time has come for health (care, promotion and protection) systems to get on board and make the changes necessary to join them.

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Have We Turned the Page on Social Science Research for Health?

What will our health landscape look like without the ability to take what we know and translate it into action? Worse yet, what if we simply are unable to even know what to do because the research and evidence isn’t there in the first place to translate into anything? Without another turn towards something more positive, we are about to find out.

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Disruption by Design

If we are to expect that the fields most connected to social action and the promotion of wellbeing are to contribute to our betterment in the future, they need to change. Disruptive design for programs, services and the ways we fund such things is what is necessary if these fields are to have benefit beyond themselves. Long past are the days when doing good was something that belonged to those with a title (e.g., doctor, health promoter, social worker) or that what we called ourselves (e.g., teacher) meant we did something else unequivocally (e.g., educate). Now we are all teachers, all health promoters, all designers, and all entrepreneurs if we want to be. Some will be better than others and some will be more effective than others, but by disrupting these ideas we can design a better future.

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The Science of Design Thinking

Andrea Yip, a designer and health promoter, provides a bridge between the worlds of science, with its emphasis on evidence and strict adherence to protocols, and design, with its flexible, rapidly evolving, yet often non-specific methods. Indeed, Andrea’s blog showcases many examples of how design and fields like health promotion fit together and differ. It is time for both designers and scientists to listen more intently to this conversation.

By using methods, theories, analogies and conceptual models that extend our thinking beyond the realm of conventional design and science, we offer opportunities to make things, better — and in doing so shape our world for the greatest benefit for us all.

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