How long have you been a member of AAAM?
This is my third year as a member of AAAM. This is my first year serving as the Chair of the Automated Vehicles Special Interest Group.

What inspired you to join AAAM?
My research focus is on the etiology of injuries, and on interventions to mitigate the risk of these injuries. These are issues that require diverse skill sets and techniques, from engineering to public health and policy.  The multidisciplinary and cross-disciplinary nature of AAAM provides a rich and diverse membership and concomitant skills and that can be leveraged to address issues of road safety.

What are your main areas of interest in the field of Automotive Medicine?
My main area of interest is the Human Factors of driving: to understand the role of the human in the driving equation, whether it be in traditional driving and interactions with other road users, and what changes when we introduce advanced technologies into the driving sphere.

What do you find most rewarding about working in this field?
Interacting with and learning from the diversity of experts in this field – from epidemiologists, to engineers, to educators.

What challenges have you faced over the years and how have you overcome them?
In the area of advanced vehicle technologies – maintaining focus on the meaningful impact to humans and users is important, but in the past few years, the hype over technology seems to overshadow the fact that there is much that we do not know. That has been a real challenge. However, the outreach and awareness made possible by interaction with professional and scientific organizations, including AAAM, go a long way towards addressing this challenge.

What’s something about you (a fun fact) that not many people know?
I am from the Kingdom of Bhutan, a country that is known for measuring its progress through a metric based on national happiness (Gross National Happiness), instead of goods and services produced (Gross Domestic Product).

How do you think the field is changing and what trends do you see coming up on the horizon?
The mobility and transportation field is changing drastically with the advances in vehicle technologies, and with the important focus on vulnerable road users and on smart and sustainable communities. In parallel, there are advances in research approaches and methods to better understand these trends and to examine the impact of these trends on societal wellbeing. It is an exciting time to be in the mobility and transportation safety field.

What advice would you give to someone interested in this field?
Seek mentors early on, bolster your skillsets with a diversity of skills and training, and stay on top of both scientific research as well as technological advances in the fields as they no longer move at the traditionally leisurely academic pace.

What’s one thing – either field-related or not – you learned in the last month?
Science communication is critical to ensuring that scientific research remains impactful. However, this is a learned skill and we as academics or scientists must strive to improve our communication abilities.

Is there anything else you would like to share with your colleagues?
Just a plug for the AAAM’s Special Interest Group for Automated Vehicles (AVSIG). If you have an interest in understanding the impact of advanced vehicles systems on AAAM’s mission of eliminating road traffic injuries, then please consider being a part of this SIG.