The event proved an exceptional opportunity for mentoring, not only through Cooke's well-received address but also because of the impressive participation of professors and practitioners, which resulted in an equal number of students and professionals in attendance. On average, the attendees had almost 9 years of membership in HFES; and 19 participants had been members for more than 10 years. In addition to such depth of experience, a breadth of multicultural perspectives was represented by scholars from the United States, Canada, Iran, Turkey, India, Australia, Bulgaria, and Argentina.
HF/E has long had a foot in both the psychology and engineering camps. The organizers asked how each attendee identified herself, whether as an engineer, a psychologist, or another professional role. The majority of respondents (29) considered themselves psychologists and 19 classified themselves as engineers; a further 6 participants did not make a distinction between the two and selected both. Interesting alternatives were forwarded by the nine attendees who chose the "other" category, including cognitive engineer, usability professional, researcher and creative writer, physiologist, and kinesiologist.
Taking into consideration Cooke's comments on work-life balance, attendees were encouraged to share recent accomplishments from their professional lives and something they learned during the luncheon. Members divulged a wide and impressive variety of accomplishments, including the completion of bachelor and doctoral degrees; the first submission of a manuscript for publication; having a peer-reviewed article published for the first time; winning a Best Student Paper Award; receiving multiple job offers; earning grants from the National Science Foundation, the National Academy of Sciences, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health; and registering a design patent.
The most popular responses to the "what have you learned?" query were that there are "lots of women working in HF/E," that there is "a lot of enthusiasm and support for women," and "HF/E women are awesome." For these reasons, we encourage the Society's women members to mark their calendars for next year's Women's Networking Luncheon in Austin!
If you are interested in the Women's Networking group, we would like to hear from you! If you attended the inaugural HFES Women's Networking Luncheon, please provide us with your feedback. Give us your thoughts via this short survey.
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Public Policy Matters
By Lewis-Burke Associates LLC
After a historic presidential campaign period, Donald Trump will be sworn in as the 45th president of the United States in January 2017. Although President-Elect Trump expressed some clear positions for his term, the public is aware of the general contours but not in-depth specifics. Existing congressional Republican priorities and policies may, but are not certain to, be adopted by the Trump White House.
Beyond the presidential race, voters re-elected Republican majorities in both the House of Representatives and the Senate, which means the United States will have one-party governance for the first time since President Obama's first two years in office. In 2009–2010, Democrats used their unified majorities to pass sweeping legislation such as the economic stimulus package, the Affordable Care Act, and Wall Street financial reforms. Similarly, passage of legislation will take on a heightened role with Republicans now at the helm of the White House and Congress. What isn't clear is the extent to which the Trump Administration will be setting the legislative agenda beyond a few key interests in health care, immigration, and infrastructure.
Until the incoming administration has an opportunity to shape its first budget request to Congress, many of the existing programs around which day-to-day grants and contracts interactions occur will likely continue. After the new White House has a chance to populate the agencies with new appointees and put its own imprint on them, some of these programs may change, but many of them may emerge from the process unaltered.
Trump Administration Outlook: Impact on Research, Education, and Health Care
Shifting from the campaign to the transition, President-Elect Trump will turn to filling senior and political posts within his administration, developing specific policy proposals and strategies, and deciding on early initiatives beyond his inauguration on January 20. As mentioned earlier, the Trump campaign has highlighted some key legislative priorities, such as reducing immigration and strengthening border security, lowering taxes, renewing and developing infrastructure, and repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act (ACA). His proposed policies have not been fleshed out with respect to education, science, technology, or a replacement for the ACA. Therefore, much is still unknown about how the Trump Administration would treat universities and the research and health-care communities. As the transition team and the new administration refine their policy agenda, prioritize actions for early legislative activities, and identify agency and White House leadership, the ensuing months will be a critical period for universities and science organizations to engage and offer suggestions for agency and White House leadership positions as well as for input on emerging initiatives. At the same time, it is important for the community to assess Trump's positions as more details emerge and to decide where and how best to concentrate energy with respect to key priorities.
Although much is still unknown about President-Elect Trump's approach to research, education, and health care, initial information has emerged in each area as to potential policy approaches and initiatives. Current knowledge about how the Trump Administration might treat each area is included below.
Research, science, and technology have not been high-profile issues for the Trump campaign, yet he has recently outlined some key foci and general thinking by means of policy advisers and responses to questionnaires such as Science Debate (see https://www.sciencedebate.org/2016-answers-release). President-Elect Trump has been clear that although the constrained fiscal environment will require prioritization, he views investment in academic research and space exploration as critical roles for the federal government and appropriate areas for long-term investment. He has also noted a few major challenge areas that could become areas of focus for his administration, such as cybersecurity, defense research, clean water, energy independence, and feeding the world, with a special emphasis on the role of agriculture.
In particular, in the area of space policy, the campaign has outlined a more detailed vision through adviser and former Congressman Robert Walker that would include an increase in deep-space exploration and a focus on hypersonics technology at the expense of Earth science (see http://spacenews.com/what-a-trump-administration-means-for-space/). Past Republican administrations have specifically emphasized basic research but also deprioritized applied research, environmental sciences, and social and behavioral sciences, and this is a potential approach of the Trump Administration as well.
The next presidential administration is likely to have a strong voice in issues pertaining to higher education, although details from President-Elect Trump are scarce. As would be the case in any administration, higher-education policymaking is complicated by diverse factions within the community, each of which has unique and sometimes conflicting interests. These different groups include public and private nonprofit institutions of higher education, for-profit institutions, students, elite research universities, liberal arts institutions, and community colleges.
Trump has not provided detailed plans for higher-education reform, but he has referenced tenets of the Republican Party's platform, including support for eliminating or reducing the power of the Department of Education, returning the student loan system to the private sector, reducing the breadth of the H-1B visa program, and eliminating the gainful employment mandate. President-Elect Trump has also expressed interest in decentralizing the role of the federal government in areas such as accreditation, which will increase the role of states and the private sector.
One of the more concrete education proposals offered by Trump is an income-based repayment plan for federal student debt. He proposes that payments be capped at 12.5% of income per month and that debt be forgiven after 15 years of steady repayment. The current Revised Pay As You Earn plan (REPAYE) caps payments at 10% of monthly income and forgives student debt after 20 years. President-Elect Trump has also said he would consider the tax-exempt status of large endowments as an incentive to lower student costs. He has expressed interest in reforming and reducing federal regulations on universities. Further, there is a potential for a Trump Administration to counteract what it sees as regulatory overreach taken by the Department of Education under the Obama Administration, such as its rules on gainful employment, teacher preparation programs, and the Department of Labor's rule on overtime pay.
President-Elect Trump has emphasized his intention to repeal ACA as an early priority for his administration. He is expected to work with Republicans in Congress to repeal certain provisions and may use the reconciliation process to do it, which requires only a simple majority in both chambers. However, this may ultimately be a longer-term effort, as Republicans will have to think strategically about how to dismantle the law while replacing it with other policies that could lessen the impact on those who have gained health coverage under the ACA.
Although the president-elect has not offered specifics for any sort of alternative health-care plan, there will likely be a push to grant more flexibility to states to administer their own health-care programs, as well as a move to encourage people to purchase health insurance across state lines. In addition, Trump has indicated his support for the distribution of Medicaid block-grants to states in place of the ACA Medicaid expansion, a position also supported by Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI).
Other health-care issues that may be a priority for the president-elect include more transparency in pricing among health-care providers; addressing prescription drug prices, possibly through drug importation; and mental-health reform, likely starting with efforts already under way in Congress. President-Elect Trump is also expected to continue efforts to address the opioid epidemic and has expressed his support for the bipartisan passage of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA).
Top Congressional Issues To Be Addressed in the Lame-Duck 2016 Session
With less than 30 days until the current fiscal year spending resolution expires, congressional leaders have not signaled how much they intend to accomplish before adjourning for the year and ending the lame-duck session. High-priority issues on the table include the following:
Annual appropriations legislation, which could be resolved through an omnibus "catchall" spending package, a year-long Continuing Resolution, or some combination of the two. Members of Congress have spoken of the need to dispense with fiscal year 2017 funding ahead of the next Congress, but the politics of whether only some agencies could receive a full-year bill complicate the process.
21st Century Cures legislation, which would require changes to the Food and Drug Administration's approval process for drugs and medical devices and also potentially boost spending for the National Institutes of Health. Leaders on both sides have expressed a desire to finalize and pass this legislation, but the nature and offsets for new funding are still undecided, and it may get punted to the next Congress, at which time prescription drug legislation is set to be considered.
Tax extenders are routinely a year-end priority, with many in 2016 impact energy and home mortgage sectors. However, the expectation that a new Congress could embrace tax reform may delay this issue until 2017.
Aid to Flint, MI, and Defense Authorization legislation are two additional items that must be dealt with in the lame-duck session. The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) legislation has passed every year for many decades, and the Republican leadership likely will not want to break that trend this year. The assistance for Flint as well as any additional assistance for hurricane victims may be combined with other supplemental spending for the Department of Defense related to war-time operations.
Ultimately, how productive the lame-duck session will be is still largely unknown and will be complicated by considerations as to whether the Republicans will continue to support Paul Ryan as Speaker of the House for the 115th Congress.
Although Republicans will retain control of both the House and the Senate, Democrats made gains in both chambers. The Senate will be composed of at least 51 Republicans, 46 Democrats, and two Independents, the latter of whom caucus with Democrats. The Louisiana Senate seat will not be decided until a December runoff. In the Senate, Mitch McConnell (R-KY) will return as the Majority Leader, and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) replaces the retiring Harry Reid (D-NV) as Minority Leader.
At the time of this writing, the House will be composed of at least 239 Republicans and 193 Democrats, with several races yet to be called and Republicans far surpassing the necessary 218 members to retain control of the majority. House Republicans and Democrats are expected to meet in November to elect their respective party leaders. There is heavy speculation as to what a Trump Administration will mean for House Speaker Paul Ryan, given his lukewarm support for President-Elect Donald Trump during the campaign. However, Speaker Ryan has recently publicly increased his support for Trump, making it unclear whether Trump's win will affect his position as Speaker. With respect to the Democratic leadership, Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is expected to retain her role as Minority Leader.
Lewis-Burke Associates LLC, a leading Washington, D.C.-based government relations and consulting firm, represents the public policy interests of scientific societies and institutions of higher education. Lewis-Burke's staff of about 20 government relations professionals work to promote the federal research and policy goals of HFES and the HF/E community.
FPE Presents Ergonomist of the Year Award to Anthony D. Andre and Andrew S. Imada
This year, the Foundation for Professional Ergonomics (FPE) initiated an annual award to recognize colleagues who have demonstrated outstanding contributions to the practice of ergonomics through their professional lifetime achievements and/or specific implementation projects.
Recipients for 2016 are Anthony D. Andre, PhD, CPE, and Andrew S. Imada, PhD, CPE, for their lifetime achievements in promoting ergonomics professionalism. Both are past HFES presidents and run their own businesses. Their names are now inscribed on a permanent plaque that will be showcased at the HFES Annual Meeting.
Virginia Tech Student Wins 2016 Dieter W. Jahns Student Practitioner Award
Hyungil Kim with his adviser, Dr. Joseph L. Gabbard, in the modified simulator used for
the augmented-reality display evaluations.
Congratulations to Hyungil Kim, winner of the 2016 Dieter W. Jahns Student Practitioner Award from the Foundation for Professional Ergonomics, a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing professionalism in ergonomics. Kim, a PhD student in the industrial and systems engineering department at Virginia Tech, is the sixth recipient of the award, which was created in honor of the late Dieter Jahns, a lifelong advocate of the practice of ergonomics and a leader in ergonomics certification. The award was presented to Kim by Dieter's wife, Karel, at the 2016 HFES Annual Meeting in Washington, DC. In addition to the plaque, Kim received a cash award of $1,000, and HFES added complimentary registration for the Annual Meeting.
Kim's project is titled "Virtual Shadow: Making Cross-Traffic Dynamics Visible Through Augmented Reality Head-Up Display." The objectives of the project were to (a) design a novel driver interface for cross-traffic alerts, taking advantage of an augmented reality (AR) head-up display (HUD); (b) prototype design ideas for a specific use-case of pedestrian collision warning; and (c) evaluate usability in consideration of unique aspects of interaction with AR while driving. The result was an AR pedestrian collision-warning interface that is compatible with both the driver's cognitive process and physical reality of driving. This work demonstrates theincorporation of ecological interface design (EID) with AR interfaces.
Preethi Srinivas receives her certificate of
appreciation from her adviser, Richard J.
Kim stated, "I really appreciate this prestigious honor. This is one of the greatest honors from my entire life so far! I believe that this recognition will strongly encourage me to keep working on my journey to human factors and ergonomics and pursuing quality research outcomes with confidence."
Preethi Srinivas, a student at the Indiana University School of Informatics and Computing, was recognized as the 2016 student award runner-up for her project, "Examining the Role of Patient Information in Text Messages for Managing Technology-Mediated Interruptions in the Intensive Care Unit."
A Report on the First International Conference on Neuroergonomics
By P. A. Hancock and G. M. Hancock
In early October, the impactful and inaugural meeting of the International Neuroergonomics Conference occurred in Paris, France. Its motivation was to recognize and commemorate the contributions of the late Raja Parasuraman under the theme of "The Brain at Work and in Everyday Life." Sponsored by AXA and organized by an international board of scientists, the meeting brought together more than 200 researchers from across the globe whose own work links insights from the neurosciences to applications in the context of working environments.
I (P. A. Hancock) had the honor and privilege of presenting the opening keynote, which touched on elaborations to the expansive and impactful vision that Raja has bequeathed to us. I was much concerned, in this respect, to examine the approaching evolution from automation to autonomy, and the arena of driverless automobiles proved a ready vehicle for such overall discussions. Automated driving featured heavily in many of the scientific sessions. Attendees were given privileged access into the future plans of AXA, who is clearly a strong supporter of cutting-edge science; in particular, seeking to understand how advances in the HF/E field will impact its future institutional position as regards to growing global problems. It was both refreshing and encouraging to see how this particular commercial organization was seeking to position itself as a responsible "citizen" in the coming global economy.
An evening meal in wonderful and historic surroundings preceded the first day's papers, which ranged from augmented human movement control and cognition to in-depth discussions of advanced neurophysiological approaches to directly link human and machine. Application areas included health care, business, and aviation, as well as the previously noted strong emphasis on the changes in modern-day driving. It is always gratifying to meet with individuals who pursue HF/E and yet work well beyond our own purview and professional societies. Here, we are constantly reminded that HF/E, and its expression in neuroergonomics, lives within so many disciplines and many institutions that represent, for us, nontraditional locations. The presence of so many European contributors gave North American attendees many innovative perspectives on both old and new issues.
It is invidious and potentially divisive to select specific papers, but we will perhaps be forgiven for saying how meaningful and insightful was the major address by Raja's wife, Dr. Carryl Baldwin, who wove together the personal and the scientific in perfect balance. The multiple poster sessions were extremely enjoyable, as they afforded more direct, cross-generational interaction among researchers to discuss and refine specific experimental investigations. We attended many such offerings and learned much in proportion. It is remarkable the number of neuroscientists, modelers, computer scientists, and those heavily invested in artificial intelligence (AI) — and now super AI — who pursue what we, in our discipline, immediately recognize as mainstream HF/E. Another especially pleasing feature was the prominence and the numbers of international students who attended and contributed.
The concluding tenor of the meeting was that the tide of theoretical, practical, and methodological advances in the neurosciences can have vast and significant effects in a whole spectrum of real-world endeavors. Such advances are now in production. Neuroergonomics is not simply a quest for the future but a survey of a very active present. Unlike the aspirational visions some 30 years ago, and even when Raja first advocated for this fruitful marriage, we witness these closed-loop technologies now "in the wild." They are truly changing our world and the way we operate within it. We look forward to the second international meeting and would advocate strongly for it. And by the way, Paris wasn't bad either!
20th International IEA Conference To Be Held in Florence
The Italian Society of Ergonomics will host the 20th Congress of the International Ergonomics Association in Florence. The event will take place August 26–30, 2018.
The theme of the congress is "Creativity in Practice," which refers to ways to transform the results of research on innovation into concrete actions to improve the quality of life and work.
The event will be not only an opportunity for researchers to present their findings but also an international forum devoted to multidisciplinary brainstorming by an international audience aimed at generating new ideas.
Call for Papers: PhyCS 2017
PhyCS 2017, the 4th International Conference on Physiological Computing Systems, will be held July 28–29 in Madrid, Spain. HFES is a cooperating institution. PhyCS is the annual meeting of the physiological interaction and computing community. It serves as the main international forum for engineers, computer scientists, and health professionals who are interested in research and development that bridges the gap between physiological data handling and human-computer interaction.
Proposals are invited in the categories of human factors, devices, methodologies and methods, and applications. Some topics in the human factors category include user experience, usability, adaptive interfaces, human factors in physiological computing, speech and voice data processing, and guidelines for the design of physiological interfaces. Regular paper submissions are due March 9, 2017. Additional details may be found at http://www.phycs.org.
Symposium on Human Mental Workload Call for Proposals
The 1st International Symposium on Human Mental Workload: Models and Applications will be held June 28–30, 2017, in Dublin, Ireland, in association with the Irish Ergonomics Society Annual Conference. The scientific program will consist of peer-reviewed regular and technical contributions as well as keynote talks and tutorials by leading experts in their fields. Papers must be submitted by January 15, 2017. For more information, visit the call for proposals page.