Seminar on June 24, 2015



Complexity and Dynamics of Urban Health Issues: a Rationale for Systems Approach


Danielle C. Ompad and Yesim Tozan,

(New York University Global Institute of Public Health, USA



In a variety of urban health frameworks, cities are conceptualized as complex and dynamic yet commonly used epidemiological methods have failed to address this complexity and dynamism head on due to their narrow problem definitions and linear analytical representations. Scholars from a variety of disciplines have also long conceptualized cities as systems, but few have modeled urban health issues as problems within a system. We will review the utility of applying the concepts, principles, and methods of systems thinking to the study of complex urban health phenomena as a complementary approach to standard epidemiological methods and give specific examples, highlighting our current research on HIV transmission among injecting drug use populations. We will conclude with recommendations on how to better incorporate systems thinking methods in urban health research and practice.


Short Bio: 

Danielle C. Ompad, PhD

Clinical Associate Professor, New York University Global Institute of Public Health Deputy Director, NYU College of Nursing, Center for Drug Use and HIV Research (CDHUR) Adjunct Assistant Professor, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, Department of Epidemiology

Danielle C. Ompad, PhD is a Clinical Associate Professor at NYU's Global Institute of Public Health and has been teaching at NYU since 2008. She is also the Deputy Director of the NYU College of Nursing's Center for Drug Use and HIV Research (CDHUR) and a faculty affiliate of NYU Steinhardt's Center for Health, Identity, Behavior and Prevention Studies (CHIBPS). Dr. Ompad completed her B.S. in Biology at Bowie State University and her M.H.S. and Ph.D. in infectious disease epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health. She is an epidemiologist with extensive experience in the design, conduct and analysis of community-based cross-sectional and prospective studies focusing illicit drug use, risky sexual behavior, and adult access to vaccines in urban settings.

Yesim Tozan


Research Assistant Professor  New York University, Steinhardt School & Global Institute of Public Health, NY, USA Ruprecht-Karls-University, Institute of Global Health, Heidelberg, Germany


Dr. Yesim Tozan's research centers on health decision science and priority setting, and explores the costs and cost-effectiveness of health care interventions using decision analytic models and the issues of health care resource allocation in low- and middle-income countries. Her main focus has been infectious disease prevention and control with an emphasis on dengue and malaria. Dr. Tozan is currently leading a health economics work package in a European Union-funded research project on dengue surveillance and control ( with field sites in Sri Lanka and Thailand.


Ph.D. in Public Affairs, Woodrow Wilson School of International and Public Affairs, Princeton University, 2004; M.A. in Public Affairs, Princeton University, 2001; M.Sc. in Environmental Technology, Institute of Environmental Sciences, Bogazici University, Istanbul, Turkey, 1998; B.Sc. in Environmental Engineering, Department of Environmental Engineering, Istanbul Technical University, Istanbul, Turkey, 1996.  


All interested are cordially invited.  


DATE:  June 24, 2015 

TIME:  Wednesday, 15:00-16:00