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From the Foundation for Professional Ergonomics

Students Tie for International Award

Students Tie for International Award

Congratulations to Anita Ney and Lillian Lacey (coauthors) and Bhawana Rathore; they share honors as being the 2021 recipients of the 2021 Dieter W. Jahns Student Practitioner Award.  Bhawana is

a doctoral student at the National Institute of Industrial Engineering Mumbai, India.  Anita Ney and Lillian Lacey (coauthors) are students from the University of Cincinnati.

Bhawana Rathore’s advisor was Professor Rauf Iqbal.  Her project: “Evaluation of Ergonomic Working Conditions among Indian Glass Artware Workers” was a well-executed study that linked Musculoskeletal Disorder (MSD) symptoms, work postures, and other risk factors and provided an important finding that could lead to workplace improvements and worker protections through relatively simple and low-cost remedies.  

The working posture of an Indian glass artware worker.

The objectives of the study were:  to assess the prevalence of MSDs among glass artware workers through Cornell Musculoskeletal Discomfort Questionnaire (CMDQ); to assess the ergonomic risk factors through Rapid Entire Body Assessment (REBA); and to investigate the association of MSDs symptoms with demographic factors, job-related factors, and REBA scores using multiple regression models.  The findings of the project have several implications.  Considering the substantial role of small businesses in economic development, the improved working environment in this sector has the potential for a significant impact on the economy and the quality of workers' life.  These findings highlight the importance of work-related and psychosocial risk factors of glass making activity contributed to MSDs symptoms among the workers.  These risk factors should be considered for designing and implementing interventions to prevent and alleviate musculoskeletal discomfort. 

Bhawana Rathore shares honors as the recipient of the 2021 Dieter W. Jahns Student Practitioner Award.  Her Advisor, Professor Rauf Iqbal, presents the Award to Bhawana

Anita Ney and Lillian Lacey are students in the Health Sciences Program at the University of Cincinnati, College of Allied Health Sciences.  They were advised in their project by Susan Kotowski, PhD, CPE and Aaron Friedman, MD.  Their project “Exploration of Ways to Improve the Efficiency of Instrument Handling in the Operating Room During Microlaryngeal Surgery” offered great insight on problems and solutions in a complex medical environment. 

Examples of various surgical instrument trays observed in the operating room.

Working prototype of the instrument tray/holder.

The objectives of the study were:  to observe the frequency of instrument passing between surgeons and surgical technicians during microlaryngeal surgery; to evaluate the perceived efficiency and ergonomic challenges of instrument passing; and to develop a prototype to aid in the efficiency and ease of instrument use and passing.  This study provided insight into the challenges faced by microlaryngeal surgeons and surgical technicians during instrument passing procedures and the opportunity to develop a prototype auxiliary instrument tray and holder to help mediate some of the observed issues.  The findings pave the way for continued investigation and ergonomic evaluations of the available workspace, arrangement and use of equipment, and overall ease of the surgical process.  The development of an operative auxiliary tray prototype may not only reduce repetitive passing between the surgeon and surgical technician, but also allow the surgeon to more easily maintain a comfortable posture during surgery which may in turn lead towards reduced body discomfort.  The operative auxiliary tray may also decrease the chance of dropping instruments on the floor and bumping the table during an operation since reaches over and around the patient may be reduced.  The proposed prototype type is a relative simple intervention with the potential to positively impact the instrument passing process for both the surgeon and surgical technician. Click here for a presentation of Lillian's and Anita's project.

Lillian Lacey's and Anita Ney's Advisor, Professor Susan Kotowski, presents the Award to Lillian.

Honorable Mention

This year’s competition included the following submissions:

  • Thomas Gerding, University of Cincinnati, submitted An Assessment of Ergonomic Issues in the Home Offices of University Employees Sent Home Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic; Drs. Kermit Davis and Susan Kotowski were his advisors.

Previous winners include: 

  • 2020:  Sara Wolf and Franzisca Maas, Institute Human-Computer-Media, Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg, Germany
  • 2019:  Husam Muslim, University of Tsukuba, Japan
  • 2018:  Paul Schlosser, Institute Human-Computer-Media, Julius-Maximilians- Universität Würzburg, Germany
  • 2017:  Carly Warren, Abeera Ali, David Gafni, Daipayan Guha, Mayan Murray, and Hendrik Ophardt, University of Toronto
  • 2016:  Hyungil Kim, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
  • 2015:  Moritz Albert, Daniel Reinhardt, and Ann-Kathrin Kraft Institute Human-Computer-Media, Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg, Germany
  • 2014:  Denny Yu, University of Michigan
  • 2013:  Kapil Chalil Madathil, Clemson University
  • 2012:  Mohd Nasrull Abdol Rahman, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia
  • 2011:  Radin Umar, Ohio State University
  • 2010:  Augusto Espinosa, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

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Foundation for Professional Ergonomics
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Who We Are

The Foundation for Professional Ergonomics was established in 2004 as a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing professionalism in ergonomics through educational activities and awards.  Our goals support the goals of BCPE, and we work closely with the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (HFES) on various ergonomics practitioner initiatives.  FPE attained an IRS 501(c)(3) status enabling tax-deductible donations from those sharing this dedication to professionalism in ergonomics.