Systems Theory and Action Research in Public Health


In this assignment, you will submit both a paper and a PowerPoint presentation. The paper provides a mechanism to demonstrate your abilities to apply concepts you have learned in this course and to write for an academic audience. The purpose of the PowerPoint presentation is to develop your skills in designing and preparing presentations for audiences such as boards, special interest groups, or learners.

Paper: Propose a plan to utilize systems theory, action research, principles of leadership and collaboration and ethics theory to address a problem related to public health:

Describe the problem and the need for a solution. (Do not choose a problem that focuses on any of the groups you referenced in your previous assignments.)
Apply ethical theory to provide the rationale for your proposed intervention.
Analyze how systems theory, action research, and principles of leadership and collaboration should be implemented to resolve this problem.
Propose methods of evaluating the success of your intervention.
This paper should also meet the following requirements:

Written communication should be free of errors that detract from the overall message.
APA (6th edition) style, formatting and citations. Append a list of all references you consult.
Font and font size: Times New Roman, 12 point.
PowerPoint: This presentation should summarize the information in your paper in a way that would be understandable to someone who had not read the paper. However, the presentation should communicate the information as effectively as possible in visual terms:

The number of words on each slide should be cut to the bare minimum without losing the meaning.
As much as possible, relevant information should be conveyed visually through use of pictures and diagrams. However, minimize the use of decorative elements or effects that distract from meaning. (Note: You must cite the source of any visual material that you did not create yourself within your presentation.)
Only use typefaces that are easy to read. Do not use more than two typefaces of different names (such as Helvetica or Times). However, it is very helpful to use some appropriate contrasts of sizes and weights of type to focus the viewer’s attention on the most important content within each slide.




Systems Theory and Action Research in Public Health: Disastrous Use of Alcohol as a Public Health Problem

Description of the problem

The harmful use of alcohol was identified by WHO (World Health Organization) as a major public health problem facing the globe and especially the developing countries. Globally, there have been changes in the patterns of alcohol consumption (WHO, 2014). People have increased the rate of illegal and legal alcohol consumption. The rate of alcohol consumption by the young people has also increased. With the changes, many people are at risk of the diseases associated with harmful alcohol use.

The alcohol consumption is associated with the increased cases of diseases. It is associated with the mental disorders, injuries from the road accidents, violence, and non-communicable diseases. Greatly, the harmful use of alcohol leads to the increased cases of infectious diseases such as Tuberculosis, Pneumonia, and HIV/AIDS. Besides, the alcohol use has a negative effect on the health and social life of the non-users. Currently, there is increased evidence on the reported cases of HIV/AIDS resulting from the increased alcohol use (WHO, 2014). In 2012, WHO estimated that the harmful use of the alcohol caused the deaths of approximately 3.3 million people. In the same year, the harmful use of alcohol had resulted in a disease burden of 5.1%. The injurious use of alcohol is a risk to global public health. An action is needed to reduce increased risk of diseases from the use of alcohol.

Rationale for the proposed intervention

Application of the Ethical Theory

The proposed intervention would comprise of the various strategies. First, the public would be educated on the risk imposed by the detrimental use of alcohol. Second, the health sector would help intervene on the risks imposed by the detrimental use of alcohol. The health sector would help intervene on individuals experiencing health problem in the process of the alcohol cessation. Besides, they will help deal with diseases arising from alcohol consumption such as HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis. Third, the community would highly mediate on those consuming the injurious alcohol. Also, give vital information on areas where illegal alcohol is sold. Lastly, introduce laws and policies to address the individuals driving while drunk, sales of illegal brews, the pricing and package of the alcohol.

Ethical theory-rationale

There are different ethical theories relevant to public health to prove the need for the intervention (Holland, 2007). The deontology theory gives a moral obligation for individuals to act in a certain way. In the theory, the act is judged wrong or right depending on the motivation to take the action. The action needed to intervene on the use of alcohol is necessary. Previously, the huge efforts had been directed towards the use of prohibited drugs like marijuana, tobacco, and cocaine. Nevertheless, the alcohol licensed and sold openly has emerged to be disastrous and dangerous. WHO (2014) reported that alcohol consumption causes 5.9% of the total deaths recorded in the world. The commonly feared diseases like HIV/AIDS cause lower death rates than alcohol. The HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis causes 2.8% and 1.7% of the total deaths in the world. The motive of the intervention is ethical since it has a goal of saving the public population from the risk imposed by the alcohol use.

The second ethical theory is the utilitarianism. The theory judges whether the action is right or wrong dependent on the outcome (Bayer & Beauchamp, 2007). The action taken is ethical if the outcome from results in positive consequences. The first goal of the intervention is to help decrease the death rates and decrease the infections resulting from use of the alcohol. Second, the intervention would give hope to the families suffering as a result of alcohol. Third, the plan would help secure the lives of those endangered by the use of alcohol. Lastly, the plan would ensure that people take the alcohol responsibly and is not accessible to minors. Considering the utilitarian, the intervention is ethical.

Analysis and implementation

System theory

The systems theory provides that organizations in a similar way to human beings are made up of the numerous components that must work together synergistically for the larger system to succeed. In the same way, the health sector has to be thought as a system in which all the sub-systems must work together harmoniously for the success of a given strategy. There are different subsystems in the health sectors such as finance, governance, human resource, and information systems. All the stakeholders such as managers, health workers, health organization, and community must work together for the success of the proposed plan.

The system theory would be used to identify all the stakeholders needed for the success of the intervention. The involvement of all the stakeholders would ensure the success of the proposed intervention. First, the financiers such as government, local community, and the World Health Organization would be crucial stakeholders since the interventions would require many resources. Second, the health workers are important since they are professions in the field. They would provide professional care to the affected victims. At the same time, the community would help in providing the information necessary for the research and the individuals affected. Besides, the policy makers would support the intervention with necessary laws. The laws would legalize the intervention under the laws of different countries. Lastly, the willingness of the people who have been an addict of the alcohol is very significant for the success.

The system theory requires that all the subsystems must work together for the success of the larger system. All the stakeholders will work together for the success of the strategy in the disastrous use of alcohol. The responsibilities different stakeholders would be determined, and each person allocated a responsibility. The Combined thinking will ensure that the negative effects that may emerge are identified. The intervention would involve the reasoning of all the stakeholders. After discussion with all the stakeholders, the design of the intervention would be made. The crucial element is to view the health sector as a system made up of several subsystems that would be involved in the intervention. If all the subsystems are not involved, there is a probability that resistance would be experienced. The probable resistance would emerge from the health workers, users of alcohol, community, and policy makers. The health would want to make decision that concerns their sector. In addition, the community would want to participate in activities affecting them. Lastly, alcohol users has the final decision to cease the use of alcohol.

Implementing action research to solve the problem

Action research refers to research undertaken to deal with an immediate problem. Also, it could mean a reflective process that involves progressive problem-solving techniques. In action research, a group of individuals come together to improve the ways of addressing issues solving problems. World Health Organization (2009) suggests that the problem of harmful use of alcohol requires an extensive action research if satisfying results are to be achieved. To deal with the problem, we need to have a comprehensive understanding of the areas that could be addressed for us to find a solution. Such an understanding can only be achieved if only there is a combination of both the work of the researchers and that of the community. Action research could address the need to seek strategies that could solve the problem of alcohol abuse.

For action research to be successful there needs to be a participatory mechanism. Participatory action research allows all stakeholders to be involved in finding relevant information that provides a light into problem solving. In this case, components of participatory action research methodology are used to create effective drug resistance strategies designed for a specific population. The research participants are involved in numerous stages of development and implementation. According to Australian Drug Foundation (2014), action research makes it possible for alcohol addicts to benefit from the expert knowledge that could eventually transform their lives. Also, researchers initiate a comprehensive drug resistance strategy with the aim of partnering with the community in solving the problem.

One area that action research should focus on is the availability of alcohol. The research should focus on the strategies that could be used to regulate the production and distribution of alcoholic substances. Such a strategy will help to reduce harmful use of alcohol and eventually protect the vulnerable groups (Hitchcock, 2003). Marketing of the alcoholic drinks is another area that needs to be addressed. The research could propose strategies such as partial bans or controls on volume, content, and placing of alcohol. Harm reduction is another area that the research could focus on. Strategies that reduce the harm brought by alcohol abuse could be proposed. For instance, changing the environment life could help to reduce the harm. Australian Drug Foundation (2014) suggests that media, schools, sporting clubs, family groups, and the workplace also involve important areas that the research should focus. The information collected from the action research can be applied in real life on the affected groups eventually decreasing alcohol abuse and the public health problem health problem at large.

Implementing leadership principles

Leadership is an important element if any problem within a community or country is to be solved. Leaders should possess all the required leadership principles. Such principles involve keeping the people informed, acting out the mission, investing in people and proficiency among others. According to World Health Organization (2008), solving the alcohol abuse problem requires leaders to put it at the top of the agendas in higher education. The strategy, in this case, involves speaking out and creating awareness about the problem at every opportunity. Besides, supporting new policies and programs aimed at solving the public health problems. One step that leaders should take is to make a visible personal dedication to the prevention efforts.

One strategy that all leaders should undertake is raising awareness and political commitment to reduce the alcohol-related harm. There should be written alcohol policies and rules designed to facilitate and clarify the contribution and division of responsibilities of all the parties involved at various levels. Also, there should be an action plan at a country and municipal levels with clear targets, strategies, and objectives (World Health Organization, 2009). All international and national levels should provide regular reports on alcohol abuse to the policy makers and the public audience at large. Such strategies help to maintain and sustain the adopted alcohol policies.

Pricing policies is another strategy that leaders could use to reduce the harmful use of alcohol. In fact, the main determinant of alcohol consumption is the price. Tax changes could be used to influence the price of alcohol and eventually reduce its consumption. High tax rates for alcoholic products make the price increase eventually reducing consumption (Glicken, 2009). With that the alcohol-related problems decrease. Restrictions on the quantity of alcohol produced and the density of alcoholic substances also help to shrink the harmful use of alcohol. Nevertheless, it is the role of all the leaders to ensure that all the strategies are implemented and action taken on the defaulters.


For all the above methods of solving alcoholic problems, there should be maximum collaboration in all the stakeholders involved. First, in research, all the partners should work together to achieve their set objective. The community members should collaborate with the researchers is fulfilling results are to be achieved (World Health Organisation, 2008). The responds should be ready to provide the information required by the researchers. Second, the public health officials should make sure that they implement the strategies suggested by the research team. All the stakeholders should be ready to follow all the rules put in place by the leaders to solve the problem of alcohol abuse. Also, the World Health Organization should undertake collaborative measures to ensure that public health problems are reduced. With the collaboration of all the involved parties, it is evident that great results will be achieved.

Methods of evaluating the success of the intervention

The methods used to evaluate the success of the evaluation include,

Context evaluation

The factors that facilitate or impede the intervention should be considered. One should check out whether such factors were properly put in place. Also, other relevant co-interventions should be checked in evaluating the success of the intervention (Glicken, 2009). Greater results are achieved when there is the collaboration between the other co-interventions. Besides progress, evaluators should check other changing factors in the system in the process of intervention.

Effects evaluation

This is the main method used to test the success of any intervention. What are the effects brought about by the intervention? In this case, the health officials could screen the affected groups of people for the alcohol-related symptoms. A reduction in the symptoms shows that the intervention was a success (Glicken, 2009).The positive and negative effects should be weighed against each other to ensure that the positive outweigh the negative impacts. Also, it is important check the unintended consequences brought by the intervention. The unintended results should not outweigh the intended results.

Economic evaluation

Here, we evaluate whether the intervention made good use of resources. In this case, a successful intervention should make proper use of the available resources without any misuse. If resources are misused, then the intervention will not be a success. Any intervention to reduce a public health problem should ensure good use of the available resources for it to be a success.








Australian Drug Foundation. (2014). Preventing alcohol problems and drug problems in your community. A  practical guide to planning programs and campaigns. Retrieved from,

Bayer, R., & Beauchamp, D. E. (2007). Public health ethics: Theory, policy, and practice. New York: Oxford University Press.

Glicken, M. D. (2009). Evidence-based counseling and psychotherapy for an aging population. Amsterdam: Elsevier/Academic Press.

Hitchcock, J. E., Schubert, P. E., & Thomas, S. A. (2003). Community health nursing: Caring in action. Australia: Thomson/Delmar Learning.

Holland, S. (2007). Public health ethics. Cambridge, UK: Polity.

World Health Organization. (2008). Strategies to reduce the harmful use of alcohol. Geneva: WHO, 1789-1796.

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