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Carisa Harris-Adamson, PhD, PT

Carisa Harris-Adamson

Carisa Harris-Adamson, PhD, PT

Position: Assistant Professor
Samuel Merritt University
Department of Physical Therapy

Research Biography

Dr. Harris-Adamson’s primary research interests are in the prevention of work-related musculoskeletal injuries. Her research thus far has had two approaches. The first is a biomechanical approach where interventions are developed and studied to assess their impact on exposure levels to the physical risk factors associated with work-related musculoskeletal injuries, such as force, repetition, and posture. She has looked at an alternative tool for cake decorators that reduced muscle activity and overall grip force required for decorating cakes. Additionally, she has researched pallet jack handles and the impact of hand-handle interface on comfort, energy expenditure, muscle activity and joint compressive forces.

The second approach has been an epidemiological one. Dr. Harris-Adamson’s dissertation assessed the personal, physical, and work psychosocial factors associated with the incidence of wrist tendinitis. She was part of a team that collected data of a three-year period while studying Environmental Health Sciences at the School of Public Health at UC Berkeley. She has analyzed various outcomes with this data set including 11 tendon related diagnoses of the hand and wrist and carpal tunnel syndrome. Currently she is part of the Upper Extremity Musculoskeletal Consortium that is pooling data from six studies to look at the personal, physical and work psychosocial factors predictive of carpal tunnel syndrome(CTS). In the future, the consortium hopes to look at wrist tendinitis and epicondylitis as additional health outcomes. She also hopes to look at predictors of disability among those with CTS within this data set.

Dr. Harris-Adamson currently collaborates with researchers from UC Berkeley, Washington University at St. Louis, University of Utah, University of Wisconsin in Madison, University of Iowa, Safety & Health Assessment & Research for Prevention (SHARP), National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health(NIOSH) and the Liberty mutual Research Institute for Safety and believes there could be opportunities to collaborate with Occupational Health Providers/Researchers at Sutter Health.


Harris, C. and Lin, J. “Ergonomic evaluation of standard and alternative pallet jack handles.” Ergonomics in Design. In Press.

Harris, C. 2012, “Ergonomic evaluation of standard and alternative pallet jack handles”, 4th International Conference on Applied Human Factors and Ergonomics, San Francisco, CA.

Harris, C. 2012, “Workplace factors in wrist tendinosis among blue collar workers: The San Francisco Study. Comparison of various measures of force and repetition.”, International Ergonomics Association Conference, Recife, Brazil.

Harris, C. Eisen, E., Goldberg, R., Krause, N., Rempel, D. “1st place, PREMUS best paper competition: workplace and individual factors of Wrist Tendinosis among blue-collar workers- the San Francisco Study.” Scan J Work Environ Health. 2011; 37 (2): 85-98.

Harris, C. 2011, “Ergonomic Evaluation of an alternative cake decorating tool”, Human Factors & Ergonomics Society, Las Vegas, NV. (Received Best Student Paper Award.)