• Length:
    9 Weeks
  • Effort:
    2–4 hours per week
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    Add a Verified Certificate for $139 USD

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  • Course Type:
    Self-paced on your time


Training in medicine or an associated discipline.

About this course

Skip About this course

Effective and meaningful engagement with complex modern medical systems requires an overarching set of tools.

System dynamics is such a tool, allowing health practitioners to model and simulate problems ranging from the molecular level to the entire healthcare system and beyond. This introductory course will teach you the fundamental principles of system dynamics as you learn how to use system dynamics software to explore problems relevant to your field of health. Whether you work in molecular biology, clinical medicine, health policy, or any other health-related field, this course will equip you to investigate the effects of time delays, feedback and system structure. You will learn how to interpret the causes of typical system behaviors such as growth, decay and oscillation in terms of the underlying system properties, and to rapidly develop computer-based models and run simulations to gain insight into the problems in your domain.

This course will empower you with a deeper understanding and an enhanced capacity to achieve useful interventions in healthcare.

What you'll learn

Skip What you'll learn
  • Basics of systems and their behaviors
  • Structure of simple systems and how they correlate with system behavior
  • Zero and first-order systems
  • Ability to apply system dynamics methodology to a wide range of medical problems
  • Ability to use system dynamics software to rapidly develop models and run simulations of problems

Week 0: Welcome to the course Week 1: Causal Loop Diagrams; Levels and rates; Developing and running a simple Vensim model; The nuts and bolts of Vensim's basic calculation; Visual integration and differentiation Week 2: Zero-order systems; First-order systems Week 3: Feedback; Modeling epidemics; A simple model of a bioreactor – a system dynamics example Week 4: Pharmacokinetics; Clearance; Single compartment model of dialysis; Two-compartment model of dialysis Week 5: Obesity - a system dynamics example Week 6: Second-order systems, Lookup tables, Conclusion

Meet your instructors

David Rubin
Adjunct Professor, Biomedical Engineering
Wits University
Tak Igusa
Johns Hopkins University
Robyn Letts
Biomedical Engineer & Lecturer
University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg

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