Our published research explores the relationship of Chaos and Complexity to health, healing, and sustainable medical practice.
Complexity in biologic systems can produce subtle and profoundly beautiful insights into how quantitative science intersects with the richly human qualitative experience of health and illness. We are not promising revolutionary science but often a paradox of limits to what science can know, can predict, or can seek to control.
From Prigogine and other scientists we can help our colleagues to remember what we have forgotten, what we had already intuited in our pre-scientific past, what has become lost in our pell-mell tumble into the industrial age ... what we once called wisdom or at least good old-fashioned common sense. Science is the study of 'how' and not 'why.' Scientific knowledge has its limits.
For over a decade we have tested ethical, sociological, and organizational hypotheses through Caring in Community's real world programs seeking to improve human health, health care, and the larger communities which benefit from healers' work.
And we will continue working to push the envelope of our praxis research towards the deeper complexities of human health in the chaos of human suffering.
Stefan Topolski, MD is a practicing family physician and family practice professor. 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 School of Medicine.
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 two decades with 21st century tools testing complex systems principles in practice as a small town country doctor.
There have been some brutal lessons. The simple traditional ethic of helping others quickly runs afoul of the morass of a sick and broken healthcare system. Appreciating complexity helps us to navigate the chaos. And the result is better care.
Understanding the root causes of health and illness, of complexity and chaos, supports our successful and dynamic medical practice providing affordable quality care to our entire community. We have a sustainable practice without crushing debt or the distortions of government subsidies - honest medicine the way people enjoy it most.
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.
Care that Matters: Quality Measurement and Health Care. Saver, B. et al. including Topolski, S. PLoS Med. 2015 Nov 17;12(11):e1001902. doi: 10.1371. 2015
For every complex problem, there is an answer that is clear, simple and wrong: and other aphorisms
about medical statistical fallacies, Sturmberg, J., Topolski, S. Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice. 2014 Dec;20(6):1017-25. DOI: 10.1111/jep.12156. 2014
Validation of a Complex Systems Model of Health. Topolski, S., Sturmberg, J. Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice. 2014 June; doi: 10.1111/jep.12162. 2014
Re: Humanism in the time of metrics, Topolski, S. BMJ. 2013. http://www.bmj.com/content/347/bmj.f5539/rr/665181 2013
Health - a systems and complexity based definition. Sturmberg, J., Topolski, S., and Lewis, S. Chapter in Handbook on Systems and Complexity in Health. Martin, C. and Sturmberg, J. ed. 2012. 2012
Picture Health. Topolski, S. Chapter in Handbook on Systems and Complexity in Health. Martin, C. and Sturmberg, J. ed. 2012. 2012
Improving the Medical Home through an Understanding of Complex Systems. Topolski, S. PrimaryCare. 2010; 10(19):371-374. 2010
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. 2010
Understanding Health from a Complex Systems Perspective. Topolski, Stefan. Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice. 2009 July; 15(4):749-754. 2009
Cited in You Can Make Walk-Ins Work. Weiss, Gail. Medical Economics. 2007 Aug. 2007
& Purchasing an Affordable Electronic Record. Spikol, L. Fam Pract Manag. 2005 Feb; 12(2):31-4 2005
Validation of a Complex Systems Model of Health. Topolski, S., Sturmberg, J. 2013 in press.
Broadcasts - invited
Franklin County Matters, regional public affairs television program, Greenfield, MA 2008
DevCon News: CottageMed awards and future plans. Gantos, Topolski. Adatasol Podcast.Aug 7, 2007
Filemaker and Electronic Medical Records. Lanser, Topolski, Zwerling. Adatasol Podcast.April 24, 2006
Presentations - Regular and Frequent Presenter: STFM, FMEC, NAPCRG, and ICCS - 2007-present
FMEC, Global health through a looking glass, St Albans, NY 2018
NECSI, Loss of complexity in addiction; What we should have learned in medical school; Global health through a looking glass, Boston, MA 2018
Complexity in Health Care, Washington, DC 2017
NAPCRG, Pre-existing Complex Systems Concepts, New Orleans, LA 2012
SCTPLS, Ethnographic Landscape of Chaos and Complexity in Family Medicine; Epidemiologic Validation of a Complex Systems Model of Health, Barcelona, Spain 2012
NAPCRG, Validation of a Complex Systems Model of Health, Banff, Canada 2011
FMEC, A Radical Reform of Medical Education - Achieving Competence in Engel’s BioPsychoSocial Family Practice, Danvers, MA 2011
NECSI, 6 papers reviewing applied complexity in family medicine, Boston, MA 2011
NAPCRG, paper & posters on medical applications of complexity theory, Seattle, WA 2010
FMEC, “It only takes one” dramatic presentation to an FP founders audience, Hershey, PA 2010
WONCA, 2 papers & 2 posters on applications of complexity in medicine, Malaga, Spain 2010
WONCA, 2 papers on chaos theory & complexity in family medicine, Basel, Switzerland 2009
STFM, Chaos Theory & Complexity Science - Keys to improve the medical home, Denver, CO 2009
NAPCRG, Computer Modeling in family medicine (poster), Rio Grande, PR 2008
STFM, Chaos Theory & Complexity Science - Keys to improve the medical home, Baltimore, MD 2008
SCTPLS, A New Definition of Health Derived from Chaos and Complex Systems, Richmond, VA 2008
STFM, 3 papers on innovative practice models, computer modeling in family medicine, & a novel nonlinear definition of health over a human lifetime with analysis of early implications,
Pittsburgh, PA 2007
AMSA Northeast Regional Conference, led similar seminars to STFM for a younger audience,
Portland, ME 2007
Regionals - invited
Rural Health Scholars, Panelist at U. Mass Medical School, Worcester, MA 2007
Youth Educator, Engaging youth in varied topic seminars at local schools 2007-present
15th-18th Annual Special Education Conference, annual speaker on pediatric psychiatric medication, Mary Lyon Foundation, Greenfield & Northampton, MA 2004 - 2007
T.E.P.R. Conference Speaker, Toward an Electronic Patient Record panel speaker sponsored by the Medical Records Institute, Baltimore, MD 2006
Spirit of Women, community speakers bureau member, Greenfield, MA 2003