Ph.D. Industrial and Systems Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison M.S. University of Wisconsin-Madison B.S. University of Wisconsin-Madison

"I focus on systematically understanding and supporting health management at home through patient-facing technology that is deeply responsive to patients’ lived experiences."

Rupa S. Valdez

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.


  • University of Virginia Excellence in Public Service Award 2019
  • Human Factors Ergonomics Society Bentzi Karsh Early Career Service Award 2018
  • University of Wisconsin Alumni Association Forward Under Forty Award 2018

Research Interests

  • Human Factors
  • Consumer Health IT
  • Culturally Informed Design
  • Co-Design
  • Inclusive Design
  • Mixed Methods
  • Health Disparities
  • Community-Based Participatory Research

Selected Publications

  • "Citizen Science to Further Precision Medicine: From Vision to Implementation." Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association Open. (In press). Petersen C., Austin, R., Backonja, U., Campos, H., Chung, A., Hekler, E., Hsueh, P., Kim, K., Pho, A., Salmi, L., Valdez, R.S.
  • "Reimagining Community-Based Research and Action in Human Factors: A Dialogue Across Disciplines." Advancing Diversity, Inclusion, and Social Justice through Human Systems Engineering. CRC Press, Taylor and Francis Group. (In press). Valdez, R.S., Edmunds, D.
  • "Uncovering the invisible patient work system through a case study of breast cancer self-management." Ergonomics, 1-16. 2018. ABS Gorman, R. K., Wellbeloved-Stone, C. A., & Valdez, R. S.
  • “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. 2018. ABS Rogers, C., Johnson, J., Nueslein, B., Edmunds, D., Valdez, R. S.
  • "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. 2019. ABS Valdez, R. S. & Keim-Malpass, J.
  • "Macroergonomic factors in the patient work system: examining the context of patients with chronic illness." Ergonomics, 60(1), 26-43. 2017. ABS Holden, R. J., Valdez, R. S., Schubert, C. C., Thompson, M. J., Hundt, A. S.
  • "Embracing complexity: rethinking culturally informed design in human factors/ergonomics and consumer health informatics." International Journal of Human-Computer Interaction, 33, 322-332. 2017. ABS Valdez, R.S., Brennan, P.F.
  • "From loquacious to reticent: understanding patient health information communication to guide consumer health IT design." Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association. 2017. ABS Valdez, R.S., Guterbock, T.M., Fitzgibbon, K., Williams, I.C., Wellbeloved-Stone, C.A., Bears, J.E., Menefee, H.K.
  • "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. 2015. ABS Valdez, R.S., Brennan, P.F.
  • "Transforming consumer health informatics through a patient work framework: connecting patients to context." Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, 22(1), 2-10. 2015. ABS Valdez, R. S., Holden, R. J., Novak, L. L., Veinot, T. C.
  • "Beyond traditional advertisements: leveraging Facebook’s social structures for research recruitment." Journal of Medical Internet Research, 16 (10), e243. 2014. ABS Valdez, R.S., Guterbock, T.M., Thompson, M.J., Reilly, J.D., Menefee, H.K., Bennici, M.S., Williams, I.C., Rexrode, D.L.
  • "Adapting consumer health IT to enhance usability among different racial and ethnic groups within the United States." Health and Technology 2(4), 225-233. 2012. ABS Valdez, R. S., Gibbons, M. C., Siegel, E. R., Kukafka, R., Brennan, P. F.

Courses Taught

  • INST 2559: Disability in the Workplace
  • SYS 4053: Systems Design I
  • SYS 4054: Systems Design II
  • SYS 4581/6581: Human Factors Design for Community Health
  • PHS 4016/7016: Human Factors Design for Community Health