MACON – Dr. Robert Watson, assistant professor of technical communication in the Mercer University School of Engineering, recently received a Fulbright U.S. Scholar award for 2018-2019 to study patient information systems in remote clinics in Honduras.
For the past year, Dr. Watson and students in the Technical Communication and Computer Engineering departments of the School of Engineering have been collaborating with the Public Health Department of the School of Medicine at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Honduras (UNAH) in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.
Together, they are developing a low-cost patient information system for limited-resource clinics to improve clinic operations and reporting in a way that is affordable and sustainable.
Dr. Watson’s research has received support from Mercer’s Research that Reaches Out Office and the School of Engineering.
“We are delighted that Dr. Watson has been awarded a Fulbright U.S. Scholar award,” said Dr. Laura Lackey, dean of the School of Engineering. “His work within the Honduras health sector has the potential to radically transform record-keeping processes that will result in better outcomes for both patients and healthcare workers in limited-resource clinics.”
“This Fulbright award will help me take the work that we have done at Mercer to Honduras and provide valuable research insights and experiences that I can bring back to our students,” added Dr. Watson. “I’m honored to have the opportunity to connect Mercer with Honduras and the UNAH.”
Dr. Watson joined the School of Engineering in 2016. He earned his Ph.D. in human centered design and engineering in 2015 from the University of Washington, Seattle, where he also obtained his Master of Science in human centered design and engineering and Bachelor of Arts in business administration.
His research interests include user research in documentation design and testing and information and communication technologies for development (ICT4D).
His academic career follows a professional career of more than 30 years in the software development industry.
Dr. Watson is the second professor in the school’s Department of Technical Communication to receive a Fulbright award.
“We are extremely proud of Dr. Watson’s achievement and appreciate the support of the University, particularly the Research that Reaches Out Office,” said Dr. Helen Grady, professor and chair of technical communication in the School of Engineering. “Dr. Watson’s work in Honduras has the potential to significantly improve lives and reflects his belief in one of Mercer’s main missions, which is pursuing scholarship that has the potential to change the world.”
The Fulbright Program, the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the United States government, aims to increase mutual understanding between the people of the U.S. and the people of other countries.
Fulbright alumni have become heads of state, judges, ambassadors, cabinet ministers, CEOs and university presidents, as well as leading journalists, artists, scientists and teachers. They include 59 Nobel Laureates, 82 Pulitzer Prize winners, 71 MacArthur Fellows, 16 Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients and thousands of leaders across the private, public and non-profit sectors.
Since its inception in 1946, more than 380,000 “Fulbrighters” have participated in the program.
The Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program sends approximately 800 American scholars and professionals per year to approximately 130 countries, where they lecture and/or conduct research in a wide variety of academic and professional fields. For more information, visit www.cies.org.
About Mercer University School of Engineering
Mercer University’s School of Engineering, founded in 1985, offers innovative and academically challenging programs that provide students with a comprehensive education, featuring a solid foundation in mathematics and sciences, a core engineering curriculum, a range of courses in engineering specialties and a strong emphasis on communication technologies. The School is consistently ranked by U.S. News and World Report as one of the top three master’s-degree-level engineering schools in the Southeast. Known for its breadth of instruction in its undergraduate program and its five-year joint bachelor’s and master’s degree program, the School combines technical education with hands-on laboratory experience. Mercer engineers can look forward to joining fellow alumni in companies such as Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex, Lockheed Martin, Georgia Power, Siemens and Gulfstream Aerospace.