Rochester, Minnesota




The research focus of Renaldo C. Blocker, Ph.D., is to improve surgical procedures, teamwork, communication, transitions (including handoffs) and interactions within complex health care systems. Dr. Blocker is an industrial and systems engineer with a concentration in human factors and ergonomics, specifically focused on cognitive human factors. He works with clinicians to develop, scientifically evaluate and enhance procedures, while taking a human factors and ergonomics approach to understanding the complex nature of safety, quality and human error in health care.

Focus areas

  • Team compositions and transformations. Dr. Blocker is studying the effects of handoffs, transitions and team briefing on teamwork during surgical procedures, including cardiothoracic, orthopedic, gynecologic and other types of surgery.
  • Emergent care elevations and interventions. He is also studying the emergency department and trauma care processes to identify and implement interventions to improve system components that pose a threat or vulnerability to patient safety.
  • Dimensions of team unity. A third area of focus involves examining the impacts of communication, situational awareness and workload on team cohesiveness.
  • Nonroutine events (NREs). Dr. Blocker evaluates the effects of NREs on the natural progression of surgical procedures.
  • Resilience engineering. Dr. Blocker is developing principles and practical ways to explore resilience engineering applicability to health care as a mechanism for improving the care system.

Significance to patient care

Dr. Blocker posits that multidisciplinary research approaches to health care are indispensable to the continued development of safe, efficient and desirable outcomes for patients — physically, cognitively and financially. His research examining teamwork, transitions, communication and interactions during surgical procedures has unearthed systemic challenges, issues or both in the operating theatre that contributes to clinicians' burnout, prolonged surgical times, varied patient outcomes and readmission. Dr. Blocker's goal is to continue to develop interventions to address the aforementioned issues to further improve the safety of patients and clinicians.

Professional highlights

  • Robert D. and Patricia E. Kern Honored Investigator for Diversity Science, 2022-present.
  • AcademyHealth Delivery System Science Fellowship, 2013-2014.


Administrative Appointment

  1. Senior Associate Consultant II-Research, Division of Health Care Delivery Research, Kern Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery

Academic Rank

  1. Associate Professor of Health Care Systems Engineering


  1. Post Doctoral Fellowship - Human Factors and Ergonomic in Healthcare. Ken Catchpole, Ph.D. Department of Surgery, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
  2. Ph.D. - Industrial and Systems Engineering; Human Factors and Ergonomics. Advisor: Douglas Wiegmann, Ph.D. University of Wisconsin, Madison
  3. MS - Industrial and Systems Engineering; Human Factors and Ergonomics University of Wisconsin, Madison
  4. Masters Candidate - Computer Science San Francisco State University
  5. BS - Computer Science Albany State University

Clinical Studies

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