Overview of ecosystems, complexity, system thinking and citizen action

The COVID19 Pandemic Ecosystem provides an overview of the various stakeholders, rules, and environment that impacts on the complexity of the challenges associated with the COVID-19 Pandemic .

As a psychiatrist, I find addressing the challenges associated with the complexity of the biological, behavioral, social, and legal aspects that impact psychiatric conditions most rewarding. To effectively treat an individual patient and alleviate the suffering associated with their psychiatric condition (or impact it was having on others) requires an understanding and attending on the multiple interconnected levels of the biology, psychology, and social factors. Systems thinking is helpful in visualizing these connections and makes establishing a comprehensive treatment plan, addressing biological, psychological, spiritual, social as well as legal challenges the individual is experiencing more rewarding. Recognizing that we are all part of Ecosystems that include many layers, systems, multiple stakeholders and processes, enriched and provided a framework to carry out the clinical process. Similarly, embracing an ecosystem approach to address the challenges facing our society is important in becoming an “effective” citizen, one who is seeking to understand and take part in “curing” the challenges confronting society.


In its fullest expression, systems thinking is a highly technical discipline that uses maps composed of causal loop diagrams to depict the interactions in complex systems. These diagrams are validated and calibrated with data; mathematical algorithms are applied to estimate the intensity and probability of effects on different segments of the population and other dependent variables, and computer models are created to simulate the system. The simulation model allows users to explore various “what if” scenarios.



“Systems thinking” and the practice of mapping complex systems provides an opportunity to more holistically and comprehensively explore complex social challenges and to provide interventions that are informed by and can be tracked over time.


Our democracy is a complex political system made of an intricate web of institutions, interest groups, individual leaders, and citizens that are connected to each other in countless ways. Every attempt to influence some aspect of this complex system produces a ripple of other reactions – some may be predictable, but many are not. This can make it difficult to anticipate what will happen when we intervene to try to make our democracy work better.


In order to actively participate in our politics, we need to be informed about political and public institutions and our representatives and other government officials. This easy-to-use tool provides a snapshot of the political system where citizens can learn about their representatives, organizations and other relevant aspects of their local, state and federal (or global) systems. The ecosystem view assists citizens in developing a richer understanding of the social and political systems affecting their lives.


Utilizing an ecosystem approach to identified challenges, My Political Ecosystem provides a user-friendly tool to better understand and engage with the various relevant stakeholders. The citizen can learn about their representatives, organizations and other relevant influences on their local, state and federal (or global) systems and more easily engage with them. The citizen can learn about their representatives, organizations and other relevant aspects of their local, state and federal (Global) systems.


In order to actively participate in our politics, local, state, nationally and globally we need to be informed about political and public institutions, our representatives and other government officials.


My Political Ecosystem provides easy access to your specific ecosystem from local to national as well as the tools to actively participate in our democracy. Our representative system of government is based on We the People actively taking part in our government. There are many ways that we can all be engaged to make our collective life better.


The challenge of The COVID-19 pandemic requires a well-formulated, coordinated effort that addresses the complexity of the ecosystem* and leverages our understanding of the institutional challenges that must be identified and overcome. We are motivated by and testing the belief that given the right tools and framework, citizens, patients, consumers, healthcare professionals, public servants and politicians, working together can achieve great results addressing the COVID-19 pandemic and related challenges facing our nation.


Systems thinking is a way to clearly illustrate the complex ecosystem of the COVID-19 Pandemic and to highlight the various stakeholders, their roles, and dynamics. We believe that using systems thinking to map the challenges associated with the COVID19 Pandemic will enable us to provide a coherent method to intervene in these systems. Additionally, mapping of complex systems can bring a new understanding of needed change and provide tools for the various stakeholders especially citizens to target the problems that impact our communities.


The many decades of recognizing and attempting to mitigate the impact of pathogens that can cause a pandemics have demonstrated the complexity of the challenge involved and the need to employ tools that allow us to better understand the ecosystem, the relationship of the stakeholders and the political opportunity for citizens to address locally and nationally the dynamics associated with the problems. What are the leverage points to incentivize health-oriented behaviors? Our system map of the COVID19 pandemic ecosystem is at its initial phases of development. When complete it will be integrated into the COVID-19 Pandemic Case presentation and provide a framework for a crowdsourced citizen-led “independent commission” to review the dynamics of the current COVID 19 pandemic.

Link to My Political Ecosystem on Shrink the Government

Link to Kumu map of the COVID-19 ecosystem

The COVID 19 Ecosystem

The Media Ecosystem

The Media at a glance



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The COVID 19 Pandemic Project is  an initiative of Citizens4Health, a group of committed citizens motivated by the belief that citizen participation will contribute to solutions to the big problems that confront our nation.

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