Speakers: Bethany Lowndes, PhD

Bethany Lowndes, PhD

Assistant Professor
Human Factors Engineer
Department of Neurological Sciences
University of Nebraska Medical Center


Dr. Lowndes is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurological Sciences at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. She completed her dissertation and post-doctoral research at Mayo Clinic where she measured physical and cognitive workload through surveys, observation, and activity monitoring in order to design interventions and technologies to improve health care delivery. As a team scientist, she has led and collaborated on projects funded through NIOSH, AHRQ, NIH and industry. Dr. Lowndes is currently studying user-centered design in processes and technology for healthcare and agricultural occupations. She is pursuing a systems approach to studying how technology enables or hinders communication, workload and workflow to influence occupational performance, health and safety.

Work System Design for Occupational Health and Safety

In many professions, the workplace can be described as a complex sociotechnical system. Human factors theories, principles, and models are applied to examine the relationship between people and these complex work systems. User-centered approaches in the design of workspaces, instrumentation, technology, and organizational practices optimize performance and minimize compromise to health and safety. By understanding human capability, demands of the task, and risks associated with the work, human factors engineers make adaptations to the system in order to improve user—and overall system—performance. Human factors analysis of work systems will be described for occupations in healthcare and agriculture. Methods for data collection and analysis will prioritize occupational health and safety.