There is a substantial body of evidence highlighting the importance of the social determinants of health in shaping the health of urban populations in Canada. The low socio-economic status of marginalized, disadvantaged, and precarious populations in urban settings has been linked to adverse health outcomes including chronic and infectious disease, negative health behaviours, barriers to accessing health care services, and overall mortality. Given the dynamic complexities and inter-relationships surrounding the underlying drivers of population health outcomes and inequities, it is difficult to assess program and policy intervention tradeoffs, particularly when such interventions are studied with static models. To address this challenge, we have adopted a systems science approach and developed a simulation model for the City of Toronto, Canada, utilizing system dynamics modelling methodology.
For more information about the model, please refer to our recent peer-reviewed paper about the model in the Journal of Social Science & Medicine. The paper is currently available online and will soon be published in the journal’s special issue on complexity and health.
Anyone can explore the model and design and test simulation scenarios, using our interactive web interface. This allows you to test the various policies in the model and examine system-wide effects of interventions related to the social determinants of health.