Kent State Ashtabula’s Brian Castellani Named Systems Science Scholar
Kent State University at Ashtabula Sociology Professor Brian Castellani, Ph.D., was recently named a Systems Science Scholar by AcademyHealth. With support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a selection committee considered applications from systems science researchers nationwide. Castellani was one of five chosen for this honor.
Castellani specializes in a systems science approach to public health concerns. Using the system science approach, he looks at the various aspects of society and environment involved in creating a person’s level of health and well-being. For instance, if a patient is diagnosed with diabetes, her doctor may prescribe a medication to treat the disease; however, several factors will help determine whether or not the patient takes the medication. Can the patient afford the medication? Does she have transportation to the pharmacy? Does the patient have the necessary literacy skills to understand how to correctly take the medication?
Castellani’s study of the interaction between healthcare systems and other societal systems or issues (such as poverty, a person’s physical living environment, transportation, environmental pollution and education) comprises a “systems” approach to public health issues. Through his work, he hopes to help doctors better understand the barriers their patients face.
As a Systems Science Scholar, Castellani traveled to Boston in June to attend AcademyHealth’s annual research meeting and the Public Health Services Research Interest Group Meeting. He and four other scholars led a discussion addressing how public health research could be improved by taking a systems approach and how collaboration between public health researchers and systems science researchers could be furthered.
“Europe has embraced a systems science approach to their public health issues for many years, and they’re seeing the benefits of this,” Castellani says. “I’m pleased to be part of the Systems Science Scholars group to help introduce and further this approach in the U.S. Public Health system.”
“We take great pride in the quality of faculty we have at Kent State Ashtabula, and it’s always exciting when that quality and innovation of thought is recognized on a national stage,” says Susan Stocker, Ph.D., dean and chief administrative officer of Kent State Ashtabula. “Dr. Castellani’s systems science research can provide applied suggestions to address and improve public health concerns in our country, so we are very proud that he is getting the opportunity to share those innovative ideas.”
Castellani has been teaching at Kent State Ashtabula for 14 years, and he also serves as an adjunct professor of psychiatry at Northeast Ohio Medical University. He is head of the Complexity and Health Group at Kent State and an advisory board member for the Center for the Study of Complex Systems at Kalamazoo College. Castellani earned his Master of Science in clinical psychology from Fuller Graduate School of Psychology and his doctorate in medical sociology from Kent State.