2018 WSU Prevention Science Graduate
Dissertation Title: Health and Safety in Commercial Aviation
Primary Advisor: Sterling McPherson (College of Medicine)
Committee Members: John Roll (College of Medicine), Gregory Belenky (College of Medicine), Kimberly Rhoades (New York University)
What is your current job title?
Research Assistant Professor in the Sleep and Performance Research Center, Department of Medical Education and Clinical Sciences, Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine, WSU Spokane
What organization do you work for?
What do you do in your current job?
My research and expertise is focused on fatigue, sleep, and performance. As part of WSU’s Occupational Sleep Medicine team, I have been funded for over 7 years by aviation Fatigue Risk Management System (FRMS) contracts and am co-PI with Dr. Gregory Belenky, a preeminent sleep researcher, in one of the labs that performed the first data collection on flights that provided the methodology that continues to be used by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the US for ultra long range operations that do not fit within the prescriptive regulations. I have papers published in Aerospace Medicine and Human Performance and Accident Analysis and Prevention and book chapters in Principles and Practice in Sleep Medicine and Sleep Deprivation and Disease focusing on fatigue in the workplace, the FRMS process, and commercial aviation pilot sleep during Alternative Method of Compliance (AMOC) flights. I have authored over 17 technical reports on FRMS routes to the FAA. I am also a member of the Fatigue Countermeasures Working Group that has published a guidance document for controlled rest (CR) on the flight deck. Along with all of this, our team is currently running 8 aviation studies, I have multiple studies I am collaborating on, providing the sleep component, and I am taking on teaching roles in the Elson S Floyd College of Medicine. I am also working on emerging into the field of Human Equine Interaction Research.
How did WSU’s Prevention Science Graduate Program prepare you for this work? My work at first glance may look a bit different than the other Prevention Science jobs, but it actually fits quite well since I am preventing fatigue, sleepiness, and performance degradation. PS prepared me by helping me broaden my knowledge about prevention science and statistics, to make me better informed. I also appreciate that I was required to get a non-terminal Masters degree with a thesis defense, as this gave me a nice stepping stone for my dissertation. And my committee for both the Masters and PhD was supportive and helpful while allowing me the flexibility I needed to truly become an expert in my field of study and research.
What words of wisdom do you have for future WSU Prevention Science students?
(I may sound like a broken record on this but) I would definitely choose the 3 paper option for the dissertation as dissertation papers are rarely cited but if you use the 3 paper option, not only will you be able to submit each to a top tier journal but you’ll have people citing your work. Two of my dissertation papers are already published in top tier, peer-reviewed journals for my field of research and have led to many citations in other excellent papers and two speaking engagements at top conferences in my field (Aerospace Medical Association and SLEEP). My third paper will be submitted as soon as I have a moment, as it is ready to go because of the dissertation requirements.