The University of Ottawa Population Health Institute Model, 1998.
While developing the proposal for the population Health Institute at the university, we needed a conceptual framework that would describe a vision of population health as a transdisciplinary academic field.
The five steps convey the idea of using basic research (at the left of the diagram) to guide population health interventions and policy, thereby drawing disciplines together toward a common overall goal. Rather than specific academic disciplines, the boxes are intended to represent fields of research and teaching that would each involve several component disciplines. The step metaphor is intended to suggest that each field builds on the previous ones, giving a flow of knowledge transfer from basic sciences to final application. Several disciplines will be involved in each step, beginning with descriptive epidemiology and social science at the left and leading to analytic studies of determinants and causes. The interventions box would include inputs from psychology, social work and medical and nursing sciences. The ovals indicate fields of application of these disciplines; these became some of the main fields of interdisciplinary collaboration in the Institute.
The diagram was intended to show people in a university how they could mesh their efforts into a broader collaboration than had existed before. The boxes did not intend to convey the nature of the mechanisms that exist in any of the fields; for this (e.g., to explain how various determinants of health interact) we turned to other models.