Valdez, Rupa S., Ph.D.

Rupa Valdez in purple shirt sitting with pillow on lap.

My research focuses on understanding and supporting the ways in which people manage health at home and in the community. This requires drawing on methods from multiple disciplines including human factors engineering, cultural anthropology, and health informatics, among others. This work encompasses participatory and co-design approaches and attends to the ways in which social networks, physical environment, community resources, and information technology shape patient experiences. I am particularly interested in how health is managed among marginalized populations, including racial/ethnic minorities, people with disabilities, and people living in under-resourced settings. A complementary research interest is in methodological development for research in this space. In addition to these research interests, I am actively involved in initiatives focused on awareness of and advocacy for disability rights on and off Grounds. I serve as an Associate Editor of the Journal of American Medical Informatics Association Open, Internal Affairs Division Chair of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, and President of the Blue Trunk Foundation. I also serve as a board member for UVA’s Institutional Review Board for the Social and Behavioral Sciences (IRB-SBS).

Associate Professor
Department of Public Health Sciences
Department of Engineering Systems and Environment
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 Disparities, 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

SYS 4053/4054: Systems Design I + II

INST 2020: Disability in Contemporary Society

Publications list (selected):

  1. Cantin, K., Nussbaum, M., White, S., Kim, S., Kim, C.D., Fortes, D., Valdez, R.S. (corresponding author). (In press). “Understanding the Experiences of Self-Injurious Behavior in Autism Spectrum Disorder: Implications for Monitoring Technology Design.” Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association. 
  2. Hochheiser, H. & Valdez, R.S. (In press). “Human-Computer Interaction, Ethics, and Biomedical Informatics.” International Medical Informatics Association Yearbook of Medical Informatics.
  3. 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. 
  4. 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.
  5. Benda, N., Montague, E., Valdez, R.S. (2019). Design for Inclusivity. In F. Sasangohar, A. Sethumadhavan (Eds.), Handbook of Human Factors in Healthcare Design. Elsevier.
  6. 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.
  7. Gorman, R. K., Wellbeloved-Stone, C. A., & Valdez, R. S. (2018). Uncovering the invisible patient work system through a case study of breast cancer self-management. Ergonomics, 1-16.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Valdez, R.S., McGuire, K.M., Rivera, A.J. (2017). Qualitative ergonomics/human factors research in health care: current state and future directions. Applied Ergonomics, 62, 43-71.
  11. 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 Interaction, 33, 322-332.
  12. Valdez, R.S., Guterbock, T.M., Fitzgibbon, K., Williams, I.C., Wellbeloved-Stone, C.A., Bears, J.E., Menefee, H.K. (2017, epub ahead of print). From loquacious to reticent: understanding patient health information communication to guide consumer health IT design. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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 Informatics, 84(5), 363-74.
  19. 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.
  20. 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 Association, 2015 Apr;22(e1):e2-6.
  21. 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 Association, 22(1), 2-10.
  22. 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 Research, 16 (10), e243.
  23. 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.
  24. Peace, J., Valdez, R. S., Lutz, K. (2012). Data-based considerations for electronic family health history applications. Computers, Informatics, Nursing, 30(1), 37-45.
  25. 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. Available at:
  26. 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.
  27. 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.