סמינר מחלקתי בגאוגרפיה וסביבת האדם: שימוש במודלים מבוססי סוכנים לחקר בריאות הציבור
Dr. Yonatan Almagor, University Glasgow
The world is currently struck by the COVID-19 pandemic that rapidly spread around the globe, causing millions of hospitalizations and deaths. The impact of the pandemic is clearly reaching far beyond the challenge it poses to health systems, with large scale social consequences to livelihood, inequality, mobility, education, mental health and civil unrest, among many others. The pandemic highlights the complex interactions between public health and other elements of human society. Furthermore, it indicates that the study of public health problems necessitates the investigation of human society as a complex system, where public health itself can be conceptualised as an emergent outcome of the system.
Unhealthy behaviours such as tobacco use, physical inactivity, unhealthy diet and the harmful use of alcohol and drugs, all increase the risk of non-communicable diseases, which account for 71% of all deaths globally. These behaviours are shaped by multiple factors influenced by individual-level traits and behaviours, as well as interactions with the social, physical and economic environments. Exploring these problems from a complex system perspective emphasises a shift from isolating the causal effect of a single factor to comprehending the functioning of the system as a whole. The traditional assumptions of linearity, independence and reductionism may not be sufficient for analysis in this case, and should be complemented with non-linearity, dynamic interactions and emergence.
One of the methods used for investigating complex systems is agent-based modelling (ABM). ABM is a computational method that allow us to represent heterogeneous individuals interacting with one another and with the environment, based on a set of behavioural rules. Such models enable us to study: the tangled web of causal relationships among environmental, physical and social factors affecting health-related behaviours; simulate the effect of possible policy interventions; identify key factors; and test theories. In this talk, I will present ABM and its relevance to public health issues, illustrate examples, and discuss the challenges they pose and opportunities they offer.
Dr Jonatan Almagor is a researcher in MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow, where he researches issues in public health. He previously worked as a researcher at the Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine at the Tel-Aviv Sourasky Medical-center, investigating the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. He received his PhD from Porter School of Environmental Studies at Tel Aviv University, where he explored urban dynamics.
מרכז הסמינר: פרופ' יצחק בננסון