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Turning Small Opportunities into Big Collaboration in Kansas: Systems Thinking as a Strategy to Improving the Behavioral Health Service System

Originally Published on the National Network of Public Health Institutes

Cristi Cain, local public health program director and accreditation coordinator at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, is one of 12 participants in the National Network of Public Health Institute’s (NNPHI) 2019 Strategic Scholars Program, which helps public health professionals build and enhance key strategic skills for modern-day public health practice. Supported by the CDC, NNPHI’s Strategic Scholars Program offers public health workers an in-person learning exchange, individual coaching, online learning opportunities and a chance to share with peers throughout the course of the program.

In June of this year, Cristi and her team participated in a one-day systems thinking workshop offered through the program, led by systems thinking expert Julia Ross. After the workshop, during subsequent conversations, the group recognized a tremendous opportunity to use a systems thinking approach to improve the integration of health services among local health departments in Kansas.

We asked Cristi to share more information about her experience in the Strategic Scholars Program and the event her team planned, which was attended by 90 public and behavioral health professionals.