Social Sciences: Community Health, Human Factors Engineering

Department: Public Health Sciences and Systems and Information Engineering

Supervising Faculty Member: Rupa Valdez

Specialization: Community Health, Human Factors Engineering

Research Focus: Dr. Valdez’s research focuses on understanding and designing technologies to support patients’ management of chronic diseases in their everyday lives. Students will be involved in a project funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research Quality focused on the needs of one patient subpopulation, individuals with physical, cognitive, and sensory disabilities. The goals of the project include: 1) understanding how individuals with disabilities engage family and friends in their health management, 2) determining the challenges individuals with disabilities face in using mobile apps for health management, and 3) cooperatively (in partnership with individuals with disabilities) creating design guidance for future health-related mobile apps that support engaging family and friends in health management.

Position Description: Students will 1) participate in conducting interviews with individuals with disabilities, 2) participate in task analysis-based evaluations for existing mobile apps, 3) participate in weekly research team meetings, and 4) participate as a co-author on conference proceedings and journal papers.

Required skills: Strong analytical and organizational skills, strong oral and written communication, strong interpersonal skills. Introductory courses in Public Health, Systems and Information Engineering, and/or Anthropology are preferred but not required. Similarly, experience with academic literature is preferred but not required.

Computer software: Not required

Training/certification: The student selected for this position will need to complete on-line certification training related to ethical conduct of human subjects research provided through the Social and Behavioral Sciences Institutional Review Board.

What you will learn: 1) how to conduct field-based multi-disciplinary research, 2) how to engage with a research team that includes academics, physicians, and designers, 3) how to write for an academic conference and journal