Keynote Speakers

Carolyn Sommerich


Speaker biography: Dr. Carolyn Sommerich is an Associate Professor in the Department of Integrated Systems Engineering at The Ohio State University and also holds graduate faculty status in Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences within OSU’s College of Medicine.  She is the director of the OSU Engineering Laboratory for Human Factors/Ergonomics/Safety.  Her research focus is ergonomics and occupational biomechanics, with a special interest in intervention research to reduce exposures to risk factors for musculoskeletal discomfort and disorders; application sectors include healthcare, industry, and education; the research approach is participatory and interdisciplinary.  She and faculty and student collaborators from Orthpaedics, Design, Radiologic Sciences, Mechanical Engineering, and Nursing, have effectively partnered with imaging technologists, home health aides, paramedics, teachers, high school students, distribution center workers, manufacturing workers, and many others to investigate and address risk factors that affect their musculoskeletal health, task performance capabilities, and quality of work life.  Dr. Sommerich is currently the Secretary-Treasurer-Elect of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, as well as faculty advisor for the OSU student chapter of HFES.

Presentation: HF/E in Healthcare:  Contributions, Opportunities, and Challenges

Abstract: HF/E has a lot to offer industries and the people that provide healthcare and caregiver services.  Substantial contributions have already been made in some key areas, such as the development and adoption of ceiling lifts and no lift policies to reduce exposure to some patient handling activities in hospitals.  However, there are many areas of opportunity within healthcare that are unaddressed or under-addressed which could benefit from attention from HF/E.  Yet there are also many challenges to making changes in the way tasks are performed, making changes to the tools that are used, and making changes to the environments in which healthcare is provided.  This presentation will examine some of the notable contributions that have made work life improvements for some healthcare professionals, some of the many opportunities and needs to which HF/E could contribute, and some of the challenges that must be recognized in advance if we are to go beyond intervention conceptualization and development and get to deployment, adoption, and making real, positive improvements in the work lives of those who provide healthcare and caregiver services.

Wayne D. Gray

Speaker biography: Dr. Wayne D. Gray is a researcher in the fields of computational cognitive modeling, cognitive neuroscience, interactive behavior, extreme expertise, cognitive workload, and human error. Since earning his Ph.D. from UC Berkeley, he has worked for government and industry research labs, as well as universities. He is currently a Professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with appointments in three departments. Wayne is a Fellow of the Cognitive Science Society, the Human Factors & Ergonomics Society (HFES), and the American Psychological Association (APA). In 2008, APA awarded him the Franklin V. Taylor Award for Outstanding Contributions in the Field of Applied Experimental & Engineering Psychology. He is a past Chair of the Cognitive Science Society and the founding Chair of the Human Performance Modeling technical group of HFES. At present he is Executive Editor for the journal, Topics in Cognitive Science (topiCS). In 2012, he was elected a Visiting Research (Forschungsaufenthalt in Deutschland) by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and spent his sabbatical at the Max Planck Institute Center for Adaptive Behavior and Cognition (ABC) in Berlin. Most recently, he received an IBM Faculty Award from IBM’s Cognitive Systems Institute.

Presentation: Stop or Flop? Dilemmas on the Knife-edge of Human Excellence

Abstract: The question of “what makes an expert” requires solving, at least, four categories of “mysteries of expertise”. First, what led one person to invent the Fosbury Flop while all other high-jump contenders had long stopped searching for new methods and sought only to perfect the established ones? Second, what leads many people to be content with being good (30 wpm) “hunt and peck” typists (Yechiam, Erev, Yehene, & Gopher, 2003) while surrounded by a sea of average (70 wpm) touchtypists? Third, what leads many people who have learned expert interaction techniques to fall back on novice modes of interaction while others do not (Fu & Gray, 2004; Lafreniere, Gutwin, & Cockburn, 2017)? Fourth, why do many who acquire difficult but expert-level techniques that enable them to perform well in demanding situations, continue to use these difficult techniques in even the simplest of situations? Situations in which less demanding “novice” methods would suffice to obtain equivalent levels of performance? Listeners beware! The solution to these mysteries are currently being pursued and are not yet solved. While “motivation” is recognized as playing an important role in each of the four categories, this talk will largely neglect motivation in favor of the cognitive issues. Likewise, while some very intriguing data will be discussed, firm answers will not be provided.