A graduate of the University of Science & Technology of China in 1986, Jiajie Zhang moved to the United States to study cognitive science with Professor Don Norman at the University of California in San Diego. He completed his PhD in 1992 and then moved to Ohio State University, where he joined the faculty in the Department of Psychology. It was here that Jiajie met Dr. Jack Smith and developed an interest in biomedical applications of the theories and methods that he brought with him from cognitive science. When Dr. Smith moved to the University of Texas in Houston in 1998, Dr. Zhang moved with him and has become a key member of the School of Health Information Science there. He has developed four graduate courses that integrate cognitive science and medical informatics, and he now serves as Associate Dean for Research in that school.
Dr. Zhang has done extensive and influential research at the intersection of medical informatics and cognitive science. He has pioneered work on distributed biomedical knowledge representations and their effects on decision making, problem solving, and human–computer interaction. The work has been applied to the design of efficient information displays in many domains, including EMR displays and medical devices. He has also adapted theories from cognitive science to develop a cognitive taxonomy of medical errors. This taxonomy is intended to help generate intervention strategies for each type of error. He has also pioneered the medical application of a methodology called Human-Centered Distributed Information Design, intended to provide systematic principles, guidelines, and procedures for the design of human-centered computing systems such as EMRs and computerized physician order entry.
Dr. Zhang is a major player in human-centered computing in health information systems, a leading researcher in cognitive explanations of medical errors, and a productive scholar who brings together medical informatics and cognitive science.