Participant: PROMISE AGEP Research Symposium, 2014
Department: Integrated Systems Engineering
Institution: Ohio State University
Exploring New Work Options for Emergency Dispatchers
Introduction: Sedentary behavior, during work and leisure time, has become prevalent over the last thirty years. Morbidity, cardiovascular disease, and musculoskeletal discomfort have been linked to prolonged sedentary behavior, independent additional physical activity. Emergency dispatchers commonly work 8-12 hour shifts. Most of that time they are seated at a computer workstation with multiple screens, for the duration of their shift, excluding breaks. This prolonged sedentary behavior, along with the stressful nature of their work, puts them at risk for a number of adverse health outcomes. This study was conducted to determine the effectiveness of two interventions, a mini-exercise cycle and a standing mat with foot rest, designed to introduce breaks from sedentary behavior that would not disrupt work productivity.
Methods: Eighteen experienced emergency dispatchers participated in the study. Subjects’ activity patterns during work were measured via accelerometry during one baseline week and one intervention week.
Results: There was a significant decrease (p=0.0116) in the percentage of time sitting between baseline and intervention weeks. A significant decrease in the number of uninterrupted 20-minute intervals spent sitting between baseline and intervention weeks was measured (p=0.0061). Subjects increased the percentage of time standing during week 2 compared with week 1 (p=0.0387); the increase in standing was comparable to the percentage of time cycling in week 2 (p=0.2402).
Conclusion: The interventions had a significant impact on reducing prolonged sedentary behavior and percentage of time sitting in general, which demonstrates the potential effectiveness of the interventions for this type of work.
Kailyn Cage has a primary background in Product Development and Mechanical Engineering. She received her B.S. in Physical Sciences-Mechanical Engineering from the University of Maryland, College Park in 2011 and her M.S. in Industrial and Systems Engineering in 2013. As a PhD student in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at University of Maryland, College Park, Kailyn seeks to engage in research that improves the traditional product development process through the incorporation of reliability and human performance and preference principals in the initial phases of the product design process. She has initiated the patent process on several user-centered improvements to technological-based products. Kailyn’s focus areas in human factors, product development, and special visualization have provided the foundation that led to her being awarded the Homeland Security STEM Fellowship and the NSF Bridge to Doctorate Fellowship.
GENERAL SUMMARY OF GRADUATE RESEARCH
At the Ohio State University, Kailyn researched and explored the areas of human factors and ergonomics, biomechanics, and product development and design. Under the direction of Dr. Carolyn Sommerich, Kailyn investigated interventions that encourage movement while working to reduce prolonged sitting in the workplace. This investigation provided the foundation for her thesis research “Exploring New Work Options for Emergency Dispatchers.” Kailyn is currently a PhD student in the Mechanical Engineering department at University of Maryland, College Park. She is working as a research assistant in the Hybrid System Integration and Simulation (HSIS) Laboratory, under the leadership of Dr. Monifa Vaughn-Cooke. The HSIS lab focuses on the development and evaluation of all systems and products in that involve the human user.
SELECTED LIST OF PRESENTATIONS AND PUBLICATIONS
- Cage, K. (2011). Terramechanics: Testing Wheel Designs for Planetary Surfaces. The University of Maryland
McNair Scholars Undergraduate Research Journal, 3(1), 43-56.
- Cage, K. (2010). Terramechanics: Testing Wheel Designs for Planetary Surfaces. The Scientific Terrapin,
- Poster Presentation, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center USRP Closing Ceremony, Greenbelt,
Maryland. Designing and Prototyping Equation Driven Elliptical Mirrors for PIPER Optics
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