This applied paper is intended to serve as a “how to” guide for public health researchers, practitioners, and policy makers who are interested in building conceptual models to convey their ideas to diverse audiences. Conceptual models can provide a visual representation of specific research questions. They also can show key components of programs, practices, and policies designed to promote health. Conceptual models may provide improved guidance for prevention and intervention efforts if they are based on frameworks that integrate social ecological and biological influences on health and incorporate health equity and social justice principles. To enhance understanding and utilization of this guide, we provide examples of conceptual models developed by the Prevention of Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms (PLUS) Research Consortium. PLUS is a transdisciplinary U.S. scientific network established by the National Institutes of Health in 2015 to promote bladder health and prevent lower urinary tract symptoms, an emerging public health and prevention priority. The PLUS Research Consortium is developing conceptual models to guide its prevention research agenda. Research findings may in turn influence future public health practices and policies. This guide can assist others in framing diverse public health and prevention science issues in innovative, potentially transformative ways.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)510-524
Number of pages15
JournalHealth promotion practice
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2020


  • bladder health
  • conceptual framework
  • conceptual model
  • lower urinary tract symptoms
  • social ecology
  • theory


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