Plexus Institute has consistently offered new thinking, perspectives and conversations related to complexity in action. The newsletter archives provide a glimpse into the diversity of work in the Plexus Network.

All files are available in in pdf format for download.

Fall/Winter 2011 Issue
Learn how Louisville Hospital partnered with The Healing Place to bring new resources and opportunities to patients struggling with addiction. Lisa Kimball interviews neuroscientist Scott Kelso on “the squiggle sense” and the science behind the mental capacity for holding two seemingly opposing ideas. Margaret Miller discusses complex responsive processes. Liz Rykert reviews Developmental Evaluation by Michael Quinn Patton.

Spring 2011 Issue
More and more health care organizations are employing the unique power of Positive Deviance as a way of creating broad-scale culture change. In the process, they’re saving lives. “The Last Shot” is a story about a family of inner-city activists and some Cincinnati teens who remind us that urban transformation is not a product of programs alone. Bob Lindberg, MD, reviews Descartes’ Bones by Russell Shorto.

Spring 2008 Issue
Twelve women artists worked together to create an exhibit of more than 50 pieces of art work producing a vivid, colorful presentation of the human dance of complexity. “Emergence,” an essay by Jeffrey Goldstein, PhD. Discover how Tona Leiker is bringing the application of complexity principles into nursing. Review of The Omnivore’s Dilemma, by Michael Pollan.

Winter 2006 Issue Special Edition
The MRSA Issue. How can complexity-inspired insights help in the effort to prevent suffering, death and financial loss from preventable infections? This special issue of emerging, the online magazine of Plexus Institute, describes the vitally important work that is being done to stop MRSA infections and protect human health and life.

April – August 2006 Issue
Dr. Diane Pittman brings health and healing to the impoverished Ojibwa Indians of northern Minnesota. A look at the term “self organization.” Learn what a leopard’s spots have in common with lightening water and blood, and challenge your mind with a surprising game that uses simple rules. Review of In Search of Memory, by Eric Kandel. A tribute to Everett Rogers.

January – March 2006 Issue
Artist Eric Grohe creates larger-than-life murals that celebrate the history, the heroes, the joys, the sorrows and daily routines of people and places. Premier of new feature: Coming to Terms and a look at the word “Chaos.” Profile some of the interesting people in the Plexus community. Review of Robustness and Evolvability in Living Systems, by Andreas Wagner. Plexus Fractals.

September – October 2005 Issue
Dr. Michael Bleich on Complex Human Systems. Plexus. Review of Deep Simplicity: Bringing Order to Chaos, by John Gribbin. Reviewer Thomas Clancy calls the book a clear, concise accounting of the scientific discoveries that have led to an understanding of chaos and complexity science. Plexus community and year in review.

July – August 2005 Issue
Gary Merrill and Michelle Merrill discover the lessons that living creatures and natural systems hold. Dr. Larry Liebovitch applies Benoit Mandelbrot’s mathematical concepts to complex ideas in biology and other disciplines. Ellen Prager has an urgent message about preserving and protecting the ocean. Review of The Encyclopedia of Nonlinear Science, by Dr. Alwyn Scott.

April – May 2005 Issue
A look at research from Johns Hopkins that looks at profound stress and the impact on physiologic variability, health and disease. Review of Multitude, by Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri. Getting ready for the 2005 Plexus Summit. Getting to know members of the Plexus community. Plexus Fractal news.

January – March 2005 Issue
A look at Dr. Marilyn Rymer and the nationally recognized Stroke Team at Saint Luke’s Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri. Dr. Norbert Wetzel and family therapist Hinda Winawer promote healing within families and communities in the Inner City. Review of State of Fear, by Michael Crichton. Getting to know members of the Plexus community. Plexus Fractal news.

August – September 2004 Issue
The Positive Deviance Issue. A look at the work of Jerry and Monique Sternin and the power of Positive Deviance. Positive Deviance from the poorest communities of Vietnam to the Corporate Boardroom. Review of Weaving Complexity and Business, by Linda Barker. Review of <spanstyle=”text-decoration: underline”=””>The Wisdom of Crowds, by James Surowiecki. Tribute to Everett Rogers.

January – February 2002 Issue
The premier issue of emerging, the Plexus Institute newsletter.Edward O. Wilson speaks with Plexus Institute leaders and talks about complexity and organizations and encourages the organization. Review the mission and purpose of Plexus. Plexus finds a home.


In the spring of 2011 Plexus introduced the Deeper Learning newsletter which offered in-depth reviews of projects and research within the Plexus network.

This month, we are proud to present Attractors and Nonlinear Dynamical Systems, by Dr. Jeffrey Goldstein. It’s a scientific look at the fascinating phenomenon of attractors.You’ve likely heard us use the term. Now’s your chance to explore the science behind it.


If you were looking for a nursing home for your frail aging mother, would you look for the best physical facility, the most techically skilled staff, and the best planned recreational opportunities? Complexity scholars Reuben McDaniel and Ruth Anderson say the most important indicator of good patient care is really the quality of the relationships among the nursing home staff members.


Albert Einstein Medical Center is a Beta Site in the Plexus Institute PD MRSA Prevention Partnership supported by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. This Partnership involves 6 Beta Sites and 40 Partner hospitals dedicated to pioneering the use Positive Deviance in MRSA prevention. The partnership is a collaboration involving Plexus Institute, Positive Deviance Initiative, CDC, Delmarva Foundation/Maryland Patient Safety Center, and the Southwestern PD/MRSA Prevention Collaborative. In addition to encouraging outcomes in declining MRSA infections and transmissions, the PD/MRSA initiative at the hospital has brought about increased collaboration and new relationships among members of the hospital staff.


This story is about the quest at the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System (VAPHS) to eliminate the transmission of deadly healthcare associated infections, specifically Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus or MRSA. Using the social and behavioral change process Positive Deviance, the facility was able to engage the innovativeness and energy of hundreds of hospital staff members – from environmental services staff to nurses, physical therapists, recreational therapists, unit secretaries, physicians, residents – and patients to uncover and create practices to prevent transmission of MRSA and to spread these practices to their colleagues. In so doing, a culture of engagement, participation and local action emerged.


Dr. Robert A. Lindberg, a student of complexity science, listens carefully to patient’s stories. He thinks what he learns from their stories about their lives sometimes tells just as much about health as the traditional measures such as blood tests and x-rays. He uses tests and lab reports too, but he also pays attention to environment and interactions. He uses analogies, metaphors and stories to communicate, and he likes to provide advice he thinks people will follow because it relates to their own lives and goals.


A story by the distinguished communications scholar, Arvind Singhal, PhD, about the complexity science-inspired leadership of Henri Lipmanowicz.