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2016 Review

Date:Feb 2017

Yushi Fujita , President

Time flies. It is already in the middle of February. But, I hope it is not too late to look back the last year and give some highlights.

The year 2016 started with our first Executive Meeting. Most of us already knew what we wanted to do in the next two and a half years, since there had been almost six months since we were elected / appointed in August 2015. Therefore, the meeting went smoothly.

The most important understanding shared among us at the meeting was a need to implement recommendations made by the Future of Human Factors/Ergonomics (FoHFE) paper published in 2012. The FoHFE paper identifies human factors and ergonomics as a unique discipline that features (1) systems approach, (2) design driven, and (3) focus on two closely related outcomes, performance and well-being. HFE has great potential to ensure optimizing performance and well-being through design driven and systems approaches. However, the FoHFE paper recognizes that the potential of HFE remains under-exploited, and points out that this can lead to sub-optimal systems with a number of deficiencies such as quality deficits, reduced efficiency, illness, and dissatisfaction. Among four major reasons for this situation that the FoHFE identifies, the following are considered particularly important:

  • Various stakeholders are not aware of the value of HFE.
  • There is not enough high-quality HFE because of the absence of HFE or limited scope of HFE application.

The FoHFE paper concludes the following as basic strategies for improving the situation, and recommends that IEA should take a leadership role in promoting the strategies below.

1) Strengthening the demand for and the application of high-quality HFE by enhancing the awareness of stakeholders’ needs for high-quality HFE by:

  • Communicating with specific stakeholders about the value of high-quality HFE in the language of the stakeholders.
  • Building partnership with these stakeholders and their representing organizations.
  • Educating stakeholders to create awareness of high-quality HFE and its contributions to system design.

2) Strengthening the application of high-quality HFE by:

  • Promoting the education of HFE specialists to apply high-quality HFE.
  • Ensuring high quality standards off HFE applications and HFE specialists.
  • Promoting HFE research excellence at universities and other organizations.

In line with these strategies, we approached various influential stakeholders (company executives, regulators and university directors), especially those in Latin America and Africa. We were delighted to learn that many of them showed interest in HFE and even told us about specific needs. I find these experiences encourage us to move ahead with confidence in the rest of our term.

An important role of the President is to visit member societies. I made ten international trips last year to attend conferences organized by member societies. In the order of trips made, I visited Brazil, Korea, Croatia, Poland, Peru, Italy, Colombia, Indonesia, India, and China. In addition to physically making travels, I sent video messages to some societies. Many of them sent us reports on their conferences. We have opened a new section entitled ‘Reports from IEA Federated Societies’ on the top page of the IEA website in order for all member societies to share the reports. Now, the report on HWWE2016 (India) is uploaded. I am expecting to make a lot of international trips this year. The number of international trips I could make in one year is limited, but I am happy to electronically communicate with more member societies by means of on-line communication or video messages. Please send requests to the Vice President/Secretary General.

The 2016 Council Meeting was held in Medellin, Colombia during October 30-31. Several important decisions were made at this meeting:
  • We approved a by-law change to move IEA registration to Geneva, Switzerland with the associated change of address
  • We confirmed the appointment of Maggie Graf as IEA Director
  • We granted IEA Federated Society membership to the Uruguayan Ergonomics Association
  • We approved a new network of Federated Societies - ErgoAfrica
  • We approved a Memorandum of Understanding between IEA and ICOH (International Commission on Occupational Health) – specifically between the Scientific Committee on Occupational Health for Health Care workers of ICOH and the IEA Healthcare Ergonomics Technical Committee
  • We approved the establishment of a permanent IEA Secretariat and an implementation proposal.

I would like to close this short reflection of 2016 by giving my deepest sympathies once again to the loss of Christopher Schlick, former Chair of Science, Technology and Practice Standing Committee, who passed away on October 3, 2016.