Valdez, Rupa S., Ph.D.

Rupa S. Valdez, PhD.

Rupa S. Valdez, PhD.

Dr. Rupa Valdez is a Professor at the University of Virginia with joint appointments in the School of Medicine and the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. She is also a core faculty member of Global Studies and the Disability Studies Initiative. Dr. Valdez merges the disciplines of human factors engineering, health informatics, and cultural anthropology to understand and support the ways in which people manage health at home and in the community. Her research and teaching focus on underserved populations, including populations that are racial/ethnic minorities, are of low socioeconomic status or are living with physical, sensory, or cognitive disabilities. Her work draws heavily on community engagement and has been supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), among others. She has testified before Congress on the topic of health equity for the disability community and received the Jack A. Kraft Innovator Award from the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (HFES) for her pioneering work in creating and developing the subdiscipline of patient ergonomics.  

Among other appointments, Dr. Valdez serves on the Board of Directors for the American Association of People with Disabilities, on PCORI’s Patient Engagement Advisory Panel, and as a member of the National Committee for Quality Assurance’s (NCQA) Health Equity Expert Work Group. Dr. Valdez also currently serves as an Associate Editor for Ergonomics, the Journal of American Medical Informatics Association (JAMIA) Open, and Human Factors in Healthcare. She has previously served on the AHRQ Director’s Roundtable on Patient Safety, as Chair of HFES Internal Affairs Division, and in multiple advisory roles for the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine. She is the founder and president of Blue Trunk Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to making it easier for people with chronic health conditions, disabilities, and age-related conditions to travel. Dr. Valdez herself lives with multiple chronic health conditions and disabilities, which have and continue to influence her research, teaching, and advocacy. She has been quoted in publications ranging from Politico to Teen Vogue.

Department of Public Health Sciences
Department of Systems and Information Engineering
Ph.D, Industrial and Systems Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison

P.O. Box 800717
Tel: 1-434-982-2510
Health System West Complex, Room 3011


Human Factors Engineering, Consumer Health IT, Culturally Informed Design, Co-Design, Inclusive Design, Mixed Methods, Health Equity, Community-Based Participatory Research

Teaching Responsibilities:

PHS 7500/4016/7016: Qualitative Methods for User-Centered Design

PHS 4016/7016, SYS 4581/6581: Human Factors Design for Community Health

PHS 4991: Global Public Health Capstone

SYS 4053/4054: Systems Design I + II

INST 2020: Disability in Contemporary Society


  • American Medical Informatics Association Samantha Adams Best Paper Award, Honorable Mention (2022)
  • Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Jack A. Kraft Innovator Award (2021)
  • University of Virginia Collaborative Excellence in Public Service Award (2020)
  • University of Virginia Excellence in Public Service Award (2019)
  • Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Bentzi Karsh Early Career Service Award (2018)
  • University of Wisconsin Alumni Association Forward Under Forty Award (2018)

Publications list (selected):

  1. Valdez, R.S., Swenor, B.K. (2023). Structural Ableism — Essential Steps for Abolishing Disability Injustice. New England Journal of Medicine. 388(20): 1827-1829.
  2. Rogers, C.C., Jang, S.S., Tidwell, W., Shaughnessy, S., Milburn, J., Hauck, F.R., Williams, I.C., Valdez, R.S.(2023). Designing Mobile Health to Align with the Social Determinants of Health. Frontiers in Digital Health5: 1193920.
  3. Ho, C. H., Denton, A. H., Blackstone, S. R., Saif, N., MacIntyre, K., Ozkaynak, M., Valdez, R. S. (joint senior author), & Hauck, F. R. (2023). Access to Healthcare Among US Adult Refugees: A Systematic Qualitative Review. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health.
  4. Valdez, R.S., Lyon, S.E., Wellbeloved-Stone, C., Collins, M., Rogers, C.C., Cantin-Garside, K.D., Fortes, D.G., Kim, C., Desai, S.S., Keim-Malpass, J., Kushalnagar, R. (2022). Engaging The Disability Community in Informatics Research: Rationales and Practical Steps. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, 29(11), 1989-1995.
  5. Valdez, R.S., Ancker, J.S., Veinot, T.C. (2022). Provocations for Reimagining Informatics Approaches to Health Equity. Yearbook of Medical Informatics, 31(1), 15-19.
  6. Barton, H. J., Pflaster, E., Loganathar, S., Werner, A., Tarfa, A., Wilkins, D., Ehlenbach, M. L., Katz, B., Coller, R. J., Valdez, R.S., & Werner, N. E. (2023). What Makes a Home? Designing Home Personas to Represent the Homes of Families Caring for Children with Medical Complexity. Applied Ergonomics106, 103900.
  7. Valdez, R.S., Rogers, C.C., Claypool, H., Trieshmann, L., Frye, O., Wellbeloved-Stone, C., Kushalnagar, P. (2021). Ensuring Full Participation of People with Disabilities in an Era of Telehealth. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, 28(2), 389-392.
  8. Valdez, R.S., Detmer, D.E., Bourne, P., Kim, K.K., Austin, R., McCollister, A., Rogers, C.C., Waters-Wick, K.C. (2021). Informatics-Enabled Citizen Science to Advance Health Equity. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, 28(9), 2009-2012.
  9. Rogers, C.C., Moutinho, J.R., T.J., Liu, X., Valdez, R.S. (corresponding author). (2021) Designing Consumer Health Information Technology to Support Biform and Articulation Work: A Qualitative Study of Diet and Nutrition Management as Patient Work. JMIR Human Factors, 8(3), e27452.
  10. Cantin, K., Nussbaum, M., White, S., Kim, S., Kim, C.D., Fortes, D., Valdez, R.S. (corresponding author).(2021). Understanding The Experiences of Self-Injurious Behavior in Autism Spectrum Disorder: Implications for Monitoring Technology Design. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, 28(2), 303-310.
  11. Hochheiser, H. & Valdez, R.S. (2020). Human-Computer Interaction, Ethics, and Biomedical Informatics. International Medical Informatics Association Yearbook of Medical Informatics, 23(1), 93-98.
  12. Petersen, C., Austin, R., Backonja, U., Campos, H., Chung, A., Hekler, E., Hsueh, P., Kim, K., Pho, A., Salmi, L., Valdez, R.S. (2019). Citizen Science to Further Precision Medicine: From Vision to Implementation. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association Open, 3(1), 2-8.
  13. Valdez, R.S. & Edmunds, D. (2019). Reimagining Community-Based Research and Action in Human Factors: A Dialogue Across Disciplines. In R. Roscoe, E. Chiou, A. Wooldridge (Eds.), Advancing Diversity, Inclusion, and Social Justice through Human Systems Engineering. CRC Press, Taylor and Francis Group.
  14. Benda, N., Montague, E., Valdez, R.S. (corresponding author). (2019). Design for Inclusivity. In F. Sasangohar, A. Sethumadhavan (Eds.), Handbook of Human Factors in Healthcare Design. Elsevier.
  15. Valdez, R. S. & Keim-Malpass, J. (2019). Ethics in Health Research Using Social Media. In J. Bian, Z. He, X. Hu (Eds.), Social Web and Health Research: Benefits, Limitations, and Best Practices. Springer.
  16. Gorman, R. K., Wellbeloved-Stone, C. A., & Valdez, R. S. (corresponding author). (2018). Uncovering the Invisible Patient Work System Through a Case Study of Breast Cancer Self-Management. Ergonomics61(12), 1575-1590.
  17. Rogers, C., Johnson, J., Nueslein, B., Edmunds, D., Valdez, R. S. (corresponding author). (2018). “I love fruit but I can’t afford it”:  Using Participatory Action Research to Develop Community-Based Initiatives to Mitigate Challenges to Chronic Disease Management in an African American Community Living in Public Housing. Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities, 5(6), 1315-1327.
  18. Ozkaynak, M., Valdez, R.S., Holden, R.J., Weiss, J. (2018). Infinicare Framework for Integrated Understanding of Health-Related Activities in Clinical and Daily-Living Contexts. Health Systems, 7(1), 66-78.
  19. Valdez, R.S., McGuire, K.M., Rivera, A.J. (2017). Qualitative Ergonomics/Human Factors Research in Health Care: Current State and Future Directions. Applied Ergonomics62, 43-71.
  20. Valdez, R.S. & Brennan, P.F. (2017). Embracing Complexity: Rethinking Culturally Informed Design in Human Factors/Ergonomics and Consumer Health Informatics. International Journal of Human-Computer Interaction33, 322-332.
  21. Valdez, R.S., Guterbock, T.M., Fitzgibbon, K., Williams, I.C., Wellbeloved-Stone, C.A., Bears, J.E., Menefee, H.K. (2017). From Loquacious to Reticent: Understanding Patient Health Information Communication to Guide Consumer Health IT Design. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, 24(4), 680-696.
  22. Holden, R. J., Valdez, R. S., Schubert, C. C., Thompson, M. J., Hundt, A. S. (2017). Macroergonomic Factors in The Patient Work System: Examining the Context of Patients with Chronic Illness. Ergonomics, 60(1), 26-43.
  23. Menefee, H.K., Thompson, M.J., Guterbock, T.M., Williams, I.C., Valdez, R.S. (corresponding author) (2016). Mechanisms of Communicating Health Information Through Facebook: Implications for Consumer Health Information Technology Design. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 18(8), e218.
  24. Chaet, A.V., Morshedi, B., Wells, K.J., Barnes, L.E., Valdez, R.S. (corresponding author) (2016). Spanish-Language Consumer Health Information Technology Interventions: A Systematic Review. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 18(8), e214.
  25. Valdez, R. S. & Holden, R. J. (2016). Health Care Human Factors/Ergonomics Homeward Bound:  Practical Considerations for Fieldwork in Home and Community Settings. Ergonomics in Design, 24(4), 4-9.
  26. Thompson, M., Reilly, J.R., Valdez, R. S. (corresponding author) (2016). Work System Barriers to Patient, Provider, and Caregiver Use of Personal Health Records: A Systematic Review. Applied Ergonomics, 54, 218-42.
  27. Valdez, R.S. & Brennan, P.F. (2015). Exploring Patients’ Health Information Communication Practices with Social Network Members as a Foundation for Consumer Health IT Design. International Journal of Medical Informatics84(5), 363-74.
  28. Valdez, R.S., Holden, R.J., Novak, L.L., & Veinot, T.C. (2015). Technological Infrastructure Implications of The Patient Work Framework. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, e213-e215.
  29. Brennan, P.F., Valdez, R.S., Alexander, G., Arora, S., Bernstam, E.V., Edmunds, M., Kirienko, N., Martin, R.D., Sim, I., Skiba, D., Rosenbloom, T. (2015). Patient-Centered Care, Collaboration, Communication and Coordination: A Report from AMIA’s 2013 Policy Meeting. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association22(e1), e2-6.
  30. Valdez, R. S., Holden, R. J., Novak, L. L., Veinot, T. C. (2015). Transforming Consumer Health Informatics Through a Patient Work Framework: Connecting Patients to Context. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association22(1), 2-10.
  31. Valdez, R.S., Guterbock, T.M., Thompson, M.J., Reilly, J.D., Menefee, H.K., Bennici, M.S., Williams, I.C., Rexrode, D.L. (2014). Beyond Traditional Advertisements: Leveraging Facebook’s Social Structures for Research Recruitment. Journal of Medical Internet Research16(10), e243.
  32. Valdez, R. S., Gibbons, M. C., Siegel, E. R., Kukafka, R., & Brennan, P. F. (2012). Adapting Consumer Health IT to Enhance Usability Among Different Racial and Ethnic Groups Within the United States. Health and Technology, 2(4), 225-233
  33. Peace, J., Valdez, R. S., Lutz, K. (2012). Data-based considerations for electronic family health history applications. Computers, Informatics, Nursing, 30(1), 37-45.
  34. Brennan, P. F., Valdez, R. S., & Rodriguez, A. J. for the Committee on the Role of Human Factors in Home Health Care, National Research Council. (2011). Consumer Health Information Technology in the Home: A Guide for Human Factors Design Considerations. National Academies Press.
  35. Zayas-Caban, T. & Valdez, R. S. (2011). Human Factors and Ergonomics in Home Care. In P. Carayon (Ed.), Handbook of Human Factors and Ergonomics in Health Care and Patient Safety. Taylor and Francis.
  36. Valdez, R. S., Ramly, E., Brennan, P. F. (2010). Industrial and Systems Engineering and Health Care: Critical Areas of Research: Final Report. (Prepared by Professional Scientific Associates under Contract No. HHSN2900900027U). Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.