Northwestern University

Wed 12:00 PM

US Healthcare Policy as a “Wicked Problem”

When: Wednesday, March 14, 2018
12:00 PM - 3:00 PM  

Where: 1902 Sheridan Road, Buffett Institute, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Cost: N/C

Contact: Jeffrey Strauss  

Group: Wicked Problem Perspectives Working Group (Buffett Institute)

Category: Lectures & Meetings

More Info


A University-wide faculty/grad student discussion intended for non-healthcare as well as healthcare related participants. Participation is limited to a diverse group of 25 faculty, grad students and post-docs from strategic planning, operations, analytics, policy, engineering, health, social justice, economics, political science, sociology and education, along with discussion enriching representatives from NU Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI). Lunch provided. RSVP to Jeffrey Strauss (

Although the US currently pays more for healthcare, outcomes are worse by most statistical measures compared to peer countries. Healthcare is a classic “wicked problem” characterized by high complexity, extensive interconnection with other problems, multiple causes, lack of consensus among diverse stakeholders on problem or solution definition, changing underlying dynamics (moving target), and the fact that “solutions” reveal or create new problems. Addressing healthcare policy issues requires engaging relevant non-healthcare professionals, and broader than usual analysis and policies.

There is growing recognition that healthcare cannot be viewed in isolation from social and behavioral determinants including, among other key areas, education, poverty, and community/environment. Addressing interconnected problems in an integrated way may lower costs, increase effectiveness and impact, and allow budget reallocation.

In this event, an evolving concept and solution set will be briefly offered as a starting point to stimulate broader and deeper interdisciplinary discussion. The set simultaneously targets healthcare, education, affordable housing and universal basic income.

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