What do the cities Matanzas, Mexico, Carthagena, Guadalajara, and Havana have in common besides sunny vacation resorts? One thing is a growing interest in continued or new development of ergonomics education at a university level.
In Cuba, there are a handful of individuals doing full time ergonomics. These pioneers admit that ergonomics is neither well developed nor well known in Cuba, but that there recently has been increased interest in raising the awarness of and access to this discipline in different universities in the country.
This interest in ergonomics included several guest lectures at Cuban universities by ergonomics professionals. Much of this was arranged by Claude McKenzie,the University of Montreal (Polytechnique School), and a group called Sciences Sans Frontieres which aims to bring science knowledge, books, supplies, and professionals to developing economies.
The university was able to keep the ball rolling and in 1998 drafted a project to improve the level of ergonomics information presented in their courses. The project included :
- Development of a modern ergonomics lab with the usual facilities
- Development of an ergonomics curriculum to ensure up-to-date information is available to the students
- An association for ergonomics educators
- Creation of a Cuban Ergonomic Association
Fast forward three years and today the project hopes to be funded close to $650,000 USD to set up an ergonomics lab, improve the teacher skill and knowledge in ergonomics, and structure an efficient curriculum covering all the major aspects of ergonomics in relation to the Cuban arena. The curriculum will be a part of the industrial engineering department. The goal of the program will be to create a specialization in ergonomics among the graduating industrial engineers.
A Cuban Ergonomics Society has not yet been created, but the concept of one has received wide acceptance from groups including government agencies, trade unions like the Cuban Women Federation and workers themselves.
The university is currently looking at partnering with Mexican, Colombian and Brazilian universities to expand the ergonomics program.
For more information about increasing ergonomics awareness in Cuba or Sciences Sans Frontieres, contact Claude McKenzie email@example.com.