Adam Schwartz

Environmental Health PhD

"I got interested in ergonomics after working in industrial/organizational psychology for the Israeli military."

Ergonomics allows us to view our bodies as being part of and interacting with elements of a system. All sorts of elements in that system can affect our health, comfort, and productivity. For example, when I evaluate a workstation I consider how things like desk height, chair height, impact mats, lighting, sound, movement space, and other stressors can affect the health and productivity of a worker. When something is mismatched between our bodies and a system, injuries can occur and most can be avoided.

I started in the UMN Human Factors and Ergonomics program, but then a friend told me that I could study ergonomics in a public health framework. I’m excited about public health because of the emphasis on prevention and the ability to help many people at once. Injuries are a huge concern in public health, although disease gets top billing. Ergonomics can prevent injuries and I can apply epidemiology skills to show where ergo interventions should be deployed.

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