Old Dominion’s Madhavan Heads Human-Systems Integration Board


Poornima Madhavan
Poornima Madhavan
Poornima Madhavan, the founder and director of the Applied Decision Making Lab at Virginia’s Old Dominion University, will direct the Board on Human-Systems Integration at the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences.

“Her deep knowledge of human systems-integration will help take the board to new heights as it addresses a range of policy challenges and every day issues needing this expertise,” Robert M. Hauser, the director of the Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education, which is one of five divisions within the National Research Council. Madhavan starts her new job this month.

The board, known as BOHSI, “seeks to advance understanding of the relationship between humans and their technologies and environments, and studies how to apply this knowledge so that technologies and systems are designed with users’ needs in mind.” It was established as the Committee on Human Factors in 1980 at the request of the Pentagon, renamed as the Committee on Human-Systems Integration in 2008 and as BOHSI two years later. Nancy Cooke, a professor of cognitice science and engineering at Arizona State University, chairs the board.

Madhavan replaces cognitive scientist Barbara A. Wanchisen in the post; Wanchisen had been wearing two hats –she directs the Board on Behavioral, Cognitive, and Sensory Sciences as well as BOHSI—and retains her role at the former.

At Old Dominion, Madhavan has been an associate professor of human factors in the department of psychology and the director of undergraduate research; she holds affiliated faculty positions at the Virginia Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Center; the Climate Change and Sea Level Rise Initiative; the Homeland Security Research Group; and the Vision Lab. She started the Applied Decision Making Lab, which examines issues of national security, aviation and sustainability, in 2007.

Madhavan spent two years as a postdoctoral fellow in the Dynamic Decision Making Laboratory at Carnegie Mellon University and was awarded the Earl Alluisi Award for Early Career Achievement for outstanding contributions to the field of human factors/engineering psychology by the American Psychological Association. Madhavan holds an M.A. and a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.


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