Abstract for: Community-based system dynamics modeling of sensitive public health issues: Maximizing diverse representation of individuals

Community-based system dynamics (CBSD) models depend upon the types of stakeholders participating in group modeling sessions. Including individuals who are personally impacted by these issues is critical, especially those from vulnerable or marginalized groups. However, the extent of inclusion varies between studies, as such individuals are often hard to recruit. Underrepresentation may bias model development. The purpose of this study was to explore a method to increase representation for individuals with personal experience of stigmatized issues in model development and to explore how groups can develop different systems models. We use a case study from a CBSD project on the association between alcohol misuse (AM) and intimate partner violence (IPV) within a Northern Plains American Indian community. 1½ hour group model building sessions were held at three community organizations. There were few similarities between models. Each model contributed unique system components, and a consolidated model provided a rich picture of the complex AM-IPV system, as well as the ways in which health disparities are maintained. This method illuminated the diversity of ways in which individuals with personal experience can perceive AM-IPV systems. Similar model building strategies can complement existing efforts to build representative models for stigmatized public health within communities.