How Modeling Can Inform Strategies to Improve Population Health: Workshop Summary


Note: Proceedings contain the opinion of the presenters, but do NOT reflect the conclusions of the Health and Medicine Division or the National Academies. Learn more about the differences between Reports and Proceedings.

The health sector has a growing need to use modeling to inform policy decisions and for selecting and refining potential strategies (e.g., ranging from interventions to investments) to improve the health of communities and the nation. Modeling has been used across many disciplines to assist in the development of public policy decisions for decades. A growing interest in systems science approaches to population health has led public health researchers, regulators and others to turn to modeling more than ever, and many types of models have been used to forecast health effects associated with current and future risk behaviors. For example, tobacco control and infectious disease are two areas where modeling has been used to inform health policy decisions.

To explore how modeling can inform strategies to improve population health, the Roundtable on Population Health Improvement held a public workshop on April 9, 2015, that featured a number of presentations and discussions, beginning with an overview of how modeling has been applied in multiple fields to inform policymaking and followed by an in-depth exploration of several examples and potential future uses of modeling. The day included dialogue between modelers from a range of disciplines and model users with a focus on making practical contributions to move modeling forward in population health at the local, state, and federal levels, including strategies to build capacity for modeling.