top of page

Published 8/20/2020


Check out what we've been up to since May!

A Note From Our President

Dear HFTH members, 

    As we close out the summer and yet another month of the pandemic, I hope you've been able to find the small wins that remind us of how beautiful life is. As I was explaining Human Factors (yet again) to my 9 year old, she said “Oh, so you help people improvise? Because improvisers figure out ways to do things better by making small changes.”

Whether at work or in your personal lives, I hope you’re able to find ways to make small positive changes that help make life better.

   Along these lines, we had a remarkable webinar this month with several speakers addressing racial disparities and equity in healthcare. Thank you again to our speakers for sharing their insightful work and personal journeys. In case you missed it, you can watch the recording here.

Image by Hello I'm Nik 🎞

   We created this network to serve our members and we’re working to address your needs in the coming months. First, students, we hear you. We have some new ideas for our student members but need your input. Keep an eye on your inboxes. Second, as we look forward to HFTH's future, we want a better understanding of how our members see and want our network to grow. We look forward to having these important discussions with you soon.

   If HF has taught me anything, it’s that it’s much easier to be proactive than it is to be reactive.As we move into fall, I hope you stay healthy & well.


Your President,



HFTH Spotlight:

10 Questions in 10 Minutes!

This month's Spotlight is Andrea Cooks, MS!

Read Andrea's complete interview here.

1) What is your job title?

"Human Factors Engineer/Consultant at Cincinnati Children's Hospital in Ohio."

2) Why did you go into human factors?

"I’d never heard of human factors until it was introduced to me by the Chair of the HF Department... he convinced me that I could meld my passion for understanding human behavior and math skills to design cool things for people!" 

3) Why did you go the healthcare route?

"... After spending an extended amount of time in hospitals caring for a loved one, I realized that using my HF background and finding ways to make work easier and safer for healthcare staff was my new mission."

4) Why did you decide to be embedded as opposed to work in academia or industry?

"I’ve always loved being on the frontline and making a difference. As an embedded HF professional, I  have the opportunity to go to the frontline everyday, learn directly and see the complexity of the healthcare environment."

5) What do you enjoy most about being an embedded HF practitioner?

"Providing HOPE and creating non-traditional solutions! In many units and departments I support, the staff have been heroically working with poor workflows, environments, etc. However, helping them discover new solutions to make their lives easier always puts a smile on my face."

6) What is one piece of advice you would give up-and-coming HF professionals who want to be embedded in healthcare?

"Stop, Look, and Listen! When you first come into healthcare you will be inundated by all the opportunities of things YOU want to support. It’s such a rich and complex environment that it’s like being a kid in a candy store... Take the time to understand the needs and strategy of the institution, develop relationships with staff and get to know the environment and the culture..."

8) What is your dream superpower?

"Invisibility...that way I could really observe how 'Work is Done'!"

9) If you had the entire world’s attention for 30 seconds, what would you say?

"Be the LIGHT and SMILE!"

What People Are Doing

The last few months, we have hosted four Webinars for our members to share projects and information. Log in to view previous webinars, Webinar 1Webinar 2Webinar 3 and read the highlights from our latest webinar: Racial Disparities & Equity in Healthcare.

Image by Christina @

3rd HFTH and COVID-19 Webinar

June 4th, 2020

Scott Rowe, is the owner and co-director of a long-term residential care facility in Missouri. He shares the unique challenges COVID-19 placed on these facilities, such as the facility not being designed for isolation. Although long-term care facilities are a part of the healthcare industry, his does not have medical equipment readily available or enough PPE.

     Now... Scott continues to work hard to keep both his residents and staff informed and safe.


Laurie Wolf, PhD, is working on multiple projects at Carilion Clinic in Virginia. Laurie helped fit-test 1,000 N95 masks, assisted in 3D mask printing and created work systems throughout the hospital to comply with social distancing. She has assisted to implement 6' floor stickers in the hospital and elevators, physically removed seating from waiting rooms to reduce occupancy and added plexiglass between employees and patients. 

    Now... Laurie and the Social Distancing Team are reviewing all events reported by staff with environmental or behavioral observation concerns. The team is also a resource for maintaining the safety of staff, patients and families in areas with increased patient capacities.


4th HFTH Webinar: Racial Disparities & Equity in Healthcare

August 4th, 2020

Andrea Cooks, MS, is an embedded Human Factors Engineer/Consultant at Cincinnati Children's Hospital. Andrea shares her personal story of racial inequities experienced while seeking care for her mother and how these experiences motivated her to find employment in a hospital. She works every day to fix the "leak" in the healthcare system, with the mission to help all people, no matter what they look like, where they live or who they are.


Ray Chan, MD, is a Pediatric Hospitalist and Human Factors Physician Scientist at Children's Mercy Hospital Kansas City. Ray discusses how racial disparities are perpetuated within the healthcare system through the use of evidence based medicine. Many of the peer reviewed studies physicians are taught and use to make diagnoses rely heavily on a patient's race.


Nonye Madu, MPH, is the Enterprise Improvement Advisor at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). Nonye discusses her ongoing quest to make health equity a strategic priority at CHOP. Her quality improvement (QI) research showed hospital leadership that system standardizations do not help all patients equitably. As a result, a Health Equity Committee was formed to ensure that equity is a factor in all QI projects. Nonye is also determining what barriers healthcare systems have in place that prevent patients from receiving the best care possible and believes that an HF perspective could assist in understanding these barriers.


Myrtede Alfred, PhD, is a Research Assistant Professor with the Department of Anesthesia & Perioperative Medicine at the Medical University of South Carolina. Myrtede shares her findings on the extreme discrepancies of maternal mortality rates in the U.S. due to racial disparities. Her research reveals that these disparities are built into healthcare systems. There has been little HF research in reducing health disparities, but Myrtede believes that there are many benefits in embedded HF practitioners assisting to reduce the issue of race in healthcare.


Save the Date for our First HFTH Network Brainstorm Session

When: Thursday, October 29th, 2020

Time: 11:00am - 12:00pm (CT) | 12:00pm - 1:00pm (ET) | 9:00am - 10:00am (PT)

Do you have any HF hospital-related projects that have you stumped? Do you feel that constructive assistance or a group brainstorm with other HF practitioners and professionals might help? We agree!


We invite HFTH members to present ongoing projects to spark discussion and receive feedback from our HFTH board and members. More details and submission information on the way!


What Articles We're Reading

This month's article is, Health information technology: Fallacies and Sober realities – Redux A homage to Bentzi Karsh and Robert Wears by Patricia Abbot and Matthew Weinger


Abbott and Weinger's follow-up on their 2010 JAMIA viewpoint paper is a well-timed publication, due to the increasing reliance on health information technology (HIT). The initial 2010 paper proposed 12 fallacies which interfered with healthcare HIT’s potential. Their 2020 paper provides an update on these fallacies, discusses changes in HIT since 2010 and adds five additional fallacies to the original list. Abbot and Weinger conclude by urging the HIT industry to adopt “safety-critical computing," similar to other high-risk industries.


This article, along with the original paper, are must-reads for HF professionals and practitioners in healthcare as well as people developing or using HIT.

Join Our Network

Complete the Membership Application to request HFTH membership.


We cannot wait to work with you!

bottom of page