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Potholes1

Our published research explores the relationship of Chaos and Complexity to health, healing, and sustainable medical practice.

Studying chaos and complexity can bring subtle yet profoundly beautiful insight into how quantitative science intersects with the richly human qualitative questions of what is health, what is illness, and what brings happiness to life in community.

Chaos and Complexity here are clearly defined terms published in the scientific literature.  These fields of chaos theory and complex systems have made significant contributions to many branches of science shaping physics and biology as well as evolutionary theory, the social sciences, and farther fields of art and the aesthetic.

What we are not promising is revolutionary science but a paradox of limiting what science can know, what we can predict, and what we may seek to control.

From Prigogine and other scientists we help our colleagues to remember what we have forgotten, what we had already intuited in our pre-scientific past, what got lost in our pell-mell tumble into the industrial age ... What we once called wisdom and good old-fashioned common sense is now science catching up with its limits and its role in our future.

For over a decade we have tested ethical, sociological, and organizational hypotheses through Caring in Community's real world programs improving human health, health care, and the larger community depending on them.

We continue to push the envelope of our praxis research towards the deeper complexities of human health and the chaos of human suffering.

Publications

  • Validation of a Complex Systems Model of Health. Topolski, S., Sturmberg, J. 2013 in press.
  • Health - a systems and complexity based definition. Sturmbert, J., Topolski, S., and Lewis, S.  Chapter in Handbook on Systems and Complexity in Health. Martin, C. and Sturmberg, J. ed. 2012 in press.
  • Picture Health. Topolski, S. Chapter in Handbook on Systems and Complexity in Health. Martin, C. and Sturmberg, J. ed. 2012 in press.
  • Improving the Medical Home through an Understanding of Complex Systems. Topolski, S. PrimaryCare. 2010; 10(19):371-374.
  • Methods for Studying the Complex Human-Environment Process. Topolski, S. Technical editor regarding complexity science for Complexity for Human-Environment Well-Being. Davidson, A. and Ray ed. 2010.
  • Understanding Health from a Complex Systems Perspective. Topolski, Stefan. Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice. 2009 July; 15(4):749-754.
  • DevCon News: CottageMed awards and future plans. Gantos, Topolski. Adatasol Podcast. August 7, 2007.
  • Filemaker and Electronic Medical Records. Lanser, Topolski, Zwerling. Adatasol Podcast. April 24, 2006.

More recent selected works are available on Academia.edu

Background

Stefan Topolski, MD is a practicing family physician and assistant professor at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. His interest in nonlinear dynamics began in the social sciences at Brandeis University and grew in the Family Medicine department at the University of Maryland. 

He continued his studies with a year of post-graduate research before completing specialty training in Family Practice. After a thesis describing the qualitative modeling of nonlinear dynamics in physician education he has spent over 15 years with 21st century tools testing complex systems principles in practice as an old-timey country doctor.

We have learned some brutal lessons.  The simple traditional ethic of helping others quickly runs afoul of the morass of a sick and broken U.S. healthcare system.  Appreciating complexity is crucial to developing tools to control the chaos. Rapid reiterative design gave us our most successful tool - CottageMed - the world's first free, open source, and cross platform Electronic Medical Record (EMR) since 2002.

Understanding the root causes of chaos and complexity continues to drive our success in managing a dynamic medical practice providing affordable quality care to everyone. Ours is a sustainable practice with neither crushing debt nor distorting government subsidy - honest medicine the way it should be in the 21st century.

Since 2007 we have been returning our attention to teaching the theory and practice of Family Medicine. Dr. Topolski has written numerous essays and presented current research at national meetings of the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine and the Society for Chaos Theory on Psychology and Life Sciences. He has also presented internationally for the North American Primary Care Research Group and the World Organization of Family Doctors.

Conference Presentations

  • NAPCRG; Workshop on Complex Systems in Medicine; Ottowa, CA; 11/2013
  • NAPCRG; Complexity in Family Practice; New Orleans, LA; 11/2012
  • NAPCRG; Validation of a Complex Systems Model of Health; Banff, Canada; 11/2011
  • SCTPLS; Modeling Complexity in Health; Barcelona, Spain; 4/2011
  • FMEC; A Radical Reform of Medical Education - Achieving Competence in Engel’s BioPsychoSocial Family Practice; Danvers, MA. 10/2011
  • NECSI; 6 papers reviewing 4 years of applied complexity in family medicine; Boston, MA. 6/2011
  • NAPCRG; paper and 2 posters on applications of complexity theory in medicine; Seattle, WA. 11/2010
  • FMEC; “It only takes one” dramatic presentation to a family practice founders audience; Hershey, PA. 10/2010
  • WONCA; 2 papers and 2 posters on applications of complexity in medicine; Malaga, Spain; 9/2010
  • WONCA; 2 paper presentations on chaos theory and complexity in family medicine; Basel, Switzerland; 9/2009
  • STFM; Chaos Theory & Complexity Science - Keys to improve the medical home; Denver, CO. 5/2009
  • NAPCRG; Computer Modeling in family medicine (poster); Rio Grande, PR. 11/2008
  • STFM; Chaos Theory & Complexity Science - Keys to improve the medical home; Baltimore, MD. 10/2008
  • SCTPLS; A New Definition of Health Derived from Chaos and Complex Systems; Richmond, VA. 8/2008
  • STFM; 3 papers on innovative practice models, computer modeling in family medicine, and a novel nonlinear definition of health over a human lifetime with analysis of early implications; Pgh, PA. 10/2007
  • AMSA Northeast Regional Conference; led similar seminars for a younger audience; Portland, ME. 11/2007
  • Franklin County Matters; Invited guest on regional public affairs television program; Greenfield, MA. 12/2008
  • Rural Health Scholars;Panelist at U. Mass Medical School; Worcester, MA. 9/2007
  • Youth Educator;Engaging youth in varied topic seminars at local schools. 2007-present
  • 15th Annual Special Education Conference; annual speaker on pediatric psychiatric medication; Mary Lyon Foundation; Greenfield & Northampton, MA. 2004 - 2007, 2011
  • T.E.P.R. Conference Speaker; Toward an Electronic Patient Record panel speaker sponsored by the Medical Records Institute; Baltimore, MD. 2006
  • Public Health Heroes Award & legislature citations; for protecting and promoting the health of the public in the Franklin County and North Quabbin regions. 2004
  • Spirit of Women;community speakers bureau member; Greenfield, MA. 2003
  • Complexity Science Redefines Human Health (STFM 2007 & SCTPLS 2008)
  • Chaos & Complexity in the Medical Home (STFM 2008/2009 & WONCA 2009)
  • Computer Modeling in Human Health and HealthCare (NAPCRG 2008 & WONCA 2009) (PDF, 1.5 MB)
  • newer seminars pending upload...
  • More recent work Available on Academia.edu

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