Sarah Henrickson Parker

Sarah Henrickson Parker, Ph.D.

Research Assistant Professor, Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC

Research Assistant Professor of Psychology, College of Science, Virginia Tech

Assistant Professor, Basic Science Education, Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine

Director of Human Factors Research, Carilion Clinic

The Parker Laboratory conducts basic and translational research into the performance of teams in a crucial high-risk setting: health care. The laboratory is interdisciplinary and collaborative, with projects spanning numerous clinical domains – from the ICU to the operating room to the outpatient clinical practice – and disciplines – medical, surgical, nursing. Using a range of methods from human factors, systems engineering, bioinformatics, computational modeling, industrial/organizational psychology, and implementation science, the Parker Laboratory studies clinical team performance during direct patient care and simulations to better understand complex work and patterns of performance that are indicative of excellent patient care. The goal is to integrate education, research, and front line staff to improve care for patients.

Parker Laboratory researchers aim to answer several questions, including:

  1. What makes a good team good?
  2. What does it take to make you change your behavior? Your friends or hearing data on the news?
  3. Is giving people immediate feedback on their performance good or does it push them off a cliff?
  4. Can we conduct individualized, real-time risk assessment for patients entering the hospital?

The Parker Laboratory strives to identify, evaluate, and disseminate evidence-based interventions to improve team performance at the front lines of patient care. To achieve this goal, the Parker Laboratory has three areas of focus: research, education, and front line staff integration.

The Parker Laboratory is led by Sarah Henrickson Parker, and is a partnership between Virginia Tech, Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and Research Institute, and Carilion Clinic.

For a more complete listing of Sarah Henrickson Parker's publications, visit PubMed.

Education and Training

  • University of Aberdeen, Scotland: PhD , Psychology
  • George Mason University: MA , Psychology, Human Factors and Applied Cognition
  • Wittenberg University: BA , Psychology

Previous Positions

  • National Center for Human Factors Engineering in Healthcare
    Director of Education and Academic Affairs
  • Georgetown University School of Medicine
    Assistant Professor, Emergency Medicine
  • World Health Organization
    Data Analyst
  • Mayo Clinic
    Human Factors Analyst
  • Wright-Patterson Air Force Base
    Research Assistant, Human Performance Lab
  • Wittenberg University
    Research Assistant, Learning Memory and Cognition Lab

Awards and Honors

  • Visiting Professor in Simulation Education, Mayo Clinic, 2014
  • Postdoctoral Overseas Scholarship Award, University of Fribourg, 2014
  • Best Poster Award, MedStar Health Research Institute, 2014
  • Pitch Day Finalist, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 2013
  • Selected Capstone Presenter, Teaching Scholars - MedStar Health Research Institute, 2012

Selected Publications

Safford, S. Park, J. Lau, N., Tehranchi, K., Fitzgibbons, S., Henrickson, Parker, S., Fichtel, E., & Ponnala, S. (2019). Improving the intra-operative educational experience: Understanding the role of confidence in the resident-attending relationship. Journal of Surgical Education .

Kennedy L, Parker SH. (2018). Timing of coping instruction presentation for real-time acute stress management: Long-term implications for improved surgical performance. Journal of Healthcare Informatics Research .

Henrickson, Parker, S., Schmutz, J., Manser, T. (2018). Training Needs for Adaptive Coordination: Utilizing Task Analysis to Identify Coordination Requirements in Three Different Clinical Settings. Group and Organizational Management 43(3).