Complexity in Health Improvement

Large group of people crowding Rome's downtown streets on a sunny day. 1400pixels

Our Complexity in Health Improvement programme develops and applies research methods that are designed for understanding the variety of interdependent factors that shape the impact of interventions and policies that aim to improve health and to reduce health inequalities.

Public health interventions, whose mechanisms rely solely on human agency, often fail to bring about sustained improvement in health, and may increase social inequalities in health.

Strategies are more likely to be effective if underpinned by explicit theoretical frameworks and perspectives that take account of context and complexity. These include the socio-ecological model, complex systems theory and realist evaluation which highlights the need to not just identify ‘what works’ but ‘what works, for whom, under what circumstances and why’.

Our programme has three overlapping workstreams: Development and Evaluation of Complex Interventions, Transferability of Interventions Across Contexts and Complex Systems Science.

Our programme aims to lead international efforts in the application and dissemination of novel methods to identify the most effective means to improve population health and to reduce inequalities. We work to create a world-class, collaborative environment to support the successful implementation of translational research in public health improvement.