CREATE Team Becomes First Group to Receive Jack A. Kraft Award for Innovation

Sara J. Czaja, Ph.D., Leonard M. Miller Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and the investigators of the NIH-funded Center for Research and Education on Aging and Technology Enhancement (CREATE), are the first group to receive the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society’s Jack A. Kraft Award for Innovation since its inception more than four decades ago.

Presented October 1 at the Society’s annual meeting in San Diego, the award recognizes the CREATE team for its significant social impact on technology advancements for aging populations. The Society’s mission promotes the discovery and exchange of knowledge to ensure that systems and devices of all kinds are designed with humans in mind.

“This is a great honor for our team,” said Czaja, who along with UM’s Joseph Sharit, Ph.D., research professor of industrial engineering, serves as principal investigator of CREATE. “Being recognized by the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society is a wonderful tribute to our work as this is a highly prestigious organization and one that we hold in very high esteem. We also are pleased that the Society is recognizing aging as an important area of focus within the discipline of human factors.”

Supported by a consortium that includes UM, Florida State University and the Georgia Institute of Technology, CREATE is a multidisciplinary center founded in 1999 to help older adults use technology to increase their independence, productivity, health, safety, social connectedness and quality of life. The center also develops and evaluates interventions and design solutions to promote successful technology adoption in older populations.

The award comes just two months after CREATE executed an exclusive license agreement with software interface company BigScreenLive to expand online access and computing experiences for older adults with proprietary software developed at the Miller School, in collaboration with other institutes.

A study of the modified software product, PRISM, or Personal Reminder Information and Social Management, is collecting systematic evidence about the value of the technology for seniors and will help identify factors that affect usability, acceptance and adoption.

Czaja, who also serves as principal investigator for PRISM, and other CREATE investigators will publish the interim findings later this year.

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