For decades, human factors and ergonomics research has thrived in the global arena, since products, services, and even basic science require scientists and engineers to explore user needs and contexts that are vastly different from the prevailing knowledge base that has served as the foundation of our discipline. Most nations are experiencing internal demographic shifts that introduce new imperatives for technology that require us to think about cultures that are not traditionally considered in user-centric design, yet we continue to impose older paradigms and methodologies on the rapidly changing arena of users and user experience. This discussion will provide an overview of data challenges in the research arena and will then focus on a complex cyber-socio-physical system for caregivers of people with dementia as a test case for the practice of research inclusion in a current project. The goal is to provoke thought and dialogue about how to adapt approaches, professional development methods, and educational systems to enhance the cultural validity and cultural competence of science and engineering to prepare new professionals for an array of challenges that continue to emerge in the national and global arena.
Tonya Smith-Jackson, PhD, CPE is a Professor and Chair in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at NC A & T State University. Dr. Smith-Jackson’s research focuses on the application of cognitive and cultural ergonomics to the design, analysis, and evaluation of systems, with a specific focus on safety and health, work system analysis, inclusive design, human-systems integration, mixed-methods data integration, and integrated analytics. Application domain experience includes computer systems, education and training, manufacturing, agriculture, construction, military, transportation, public safety, mobile communications, and healthcare. Her research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Office Ergonomics Research Council, Toshiba Corporation of Japan, Army Research Office, and United Parcel Service. Her recent book, Cultural Ergonomics: Theory, Methods, and Applications (CRC Press/Taylor & Francis), focuses on design, analysis, and measurement challenges and solutions when designing systems for diverse users and workers. She has authored and co-authored over 130 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters. She received her degrees from UNC-Chapel Hill and NC State University. She has worked as a human factors professional in industry, government, and academia.