Abstract for: System Dynamics and Structural Racism: A Scoping Review

Structural racism is a dynamic problem that contributes to persistent racial inequities and exhibits policy resistance. System dynamics is a prime tool to address this problem, but little work has assessed its use across disciplines. We conducted a scoping review to evaluate how system dynamics has been applied to understand structural racism. We searched five electronic databases and conference records to identify peer-reviewed and grey literature that used system dynamics methods to understand or address structural racism for at least one racialized outcome. Key themes analyzed included explicit articulation of structural racism in project design, methodological approach, desired insight, time horizon, participation, and being applied or theoretical. Most of the nine articles analyzed were qualitative and defined appropriate time horizons, but were limited in their degree of participation. Highly relevant articles (n=6) that explicitly addressed structural racism were predominantly theoretical and articulated problem-based and paradigmatic insight as main goals. Relevant articles that implicitly addressed structural racism (n=3) were applied, participatory, and articulated structure-based and dynamic insights as main goals. Going forward, increased intentionality around desired insights, time horizons of importance, and participation of racially marginalized groups will strengthen the use of system dynamics to effectively address structural racism.