Abstract for: Systems Thinking and Simulations in the US Public Policy Community: NASPAA’s Student Simulation Competition

During the fall of 2014 the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA) partnered with Rippel Foundation to produce the first NASPAA National Simulation competition built on the ReThink Health simulation platform. The event was held on Saturday February 28, 2015 and 181 graduate students from 93 institutions participated in-person at five regional sites. During the competition, students worked with the simulator in small teams to craft long term policy solutions to a complex network of problems facing the health care system in the United States. Following is a description of how this competition came to be, identification of the key stakeholders, a description of the environment which made the competition a reality, details about the simulation model which was the backbone of the competition, an explanation of the planning and logistics for each site, a list of materials that were created to turn the tool into a learning experience, and speculations about what is happening as a result of this competition and the role for simulation-based exercises in public management and policy education.