Professor, Systems Design Engineering | Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Human Factors in Healthcare Systems | Associate Vice President, Health Initiatives

Catherine M. Burns is Professor in Systems Design Engineering at the University of Waterloo, Canada and Associate Vice President, Health Initiatives at the Office of Research at the University of Waterloo.  In her past administrative roles she has been engaged with institutional and tri agency funding programs, research partnerships, Waterloo’s equity in research action plan, and research computing.  Catherine was the founder of the Centre for Bioengineering and Biotechnology at Waterloo and led the centre from a faculty to an institutional centre over 8 years. In 2020 she chaired Waterloo’s Health Initiatives Task force to develop a health strategy in response to Waterloo’s 2025 Strategic Plan.  In her role as AVP, Health Initiatives she is responsible for advancing Waterloo research in health and health technology.  Catherine holds a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Human Factors and Healthcare Systems, has contributed over 300 publications and is the co-author of seven books and the PI on an NSERC CREATE Training program in biomedical technology and entrepreneurship which has trained over 40 graduate students from various faculties across campus. 

Catherine is well known for her work in Cognitive Work Analysis, Ecological Interface Design and the development of decision support systems. She is a Fellow of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society.    Catherine’s recent research projects have been exploring the design of early warning systems for the detection of sepsis, the design of predictive diagnostic systems for glaucoma detection, and clinician driven tools for dementia assessment. 

University of Waterloo

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