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Designing Better PPE [Podcast]

How Our Environment Affects Our Performance
Goggles and face shield in a medical room

Healthcare is a multifaceted environment and the human is the common factor across all areas. Guests Drs. Sarah Parker and Laurie Wolf discuss improving personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers on the frontlines in order to improve human performance in complex and sometimes uncomfortable settings. This episode also discusses redesigning six-foot distancing processes in dental offices. To achieve an environment where patients and staff can be as safe as possible, our guests share the importance of understanding what the human capabilities and limitations are and taking into consideration the processes and environment when designing equipment.

This is episode 24 of Beyond the Mouth, a podcast series in which ADA’s Dr. Betsy Shapiro chats with a diverse group of people who can help with the non-clinical challenges dentists experience every day.

This episode was released on December 9, 2020. 

Laurie Wolf, PhD

Dr. Laurie Wolf is the Director of Human Factors Implementation at Carilion Clinic. Dr. Wolf is a Certified Professional Ergonomist with a PhD in Human Factors and Ergonomics from Loughborough University. She is a Certified Six Sigma Black Belt from the American Society of Quality. Dr. Wolf has over 20 years of experience in the healthcare environment and has published over 20 peer-reviewed articles and three book chapters. Her interests include improving safety for both patients and staff and her recent healthcare work involves quality improvement projects to achieve efficient processes and error proofing that result in a safe environment for staff and patients.

Sarah Parker, PhD

Dr. Sarah Parker is the Director of Human Factors Research at Carilion Clinic and Senior Director of the Center for Simulation, Research and Patient Safety. Dr. Parker is an assistant professor in the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute and the Department of Biomedical Science in the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine. She has over 10 years of experience applying human factors and industrial/organizational psychology principles to healthcare. Dr. Parker received her BA in psychology from Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio; her MA in human factors and applied cognition from George Mason University in Fairfax, Va.; and her PhD at University of Aberdeen in Scotland. 


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