TAMHSC Professor’s Study Into Ergonomics Spurs A New Business

Mark-BendenAccording to a recent article in the TAMU Times, Mark Benden, an innovative ergonomic engineer at the Texas A&M Health Science Center, has always been keen to identify and sort out unconventional healthcare solutions that endanger public safety and health. For example, by identifying sedentary lifestyle as a primary risk factor for various preventable diseases, Benden developed the idea of highly innovative and practical workstations that permit convenience with productivity while preventing health issues associated with sedentary lifestyle.

 Background and initial work:

An associate professor of Rural Public Health at the Texas A&M Health Science Center, Benden conducted a detailed study to identify the benefits of dynamic ergonomics (with the help of adult work desks and height adjusted tables). He also identified that sedentary lifestyle is directly associated with obesity in workers. The research led to his theory technology induced inactivity that became the basis of Mark Benden’s stand-biased desks.

In 2009, Benden conducted a study at College Hills Elementary in College Station, Texas in first-grade classrooms to study the health effects of standing-height desks on students. Results suggested that children who use standing-height desks spend more calories (and are thus at lower risk of weight gain/ obesity).

Outcomes of Research: 

The research became extremely popular and in the fall of 2011, and a Small Business Innovation Research grant of $150k was awarded to PositiveMotion. This grant was used for the formation of an offshoot company- Stand2Learn™ that further developed the idea of stand-biased desks in the classroom version. Aggie Angel Network also provided startup fund investment to the company in 2012.

In October of 2013, the Center for Disease Control awarded a research grant of $1 million to study the health benefits of desks in high school and middle school children. The grant will also be spent on the development of future generations of patented desks.

About Mark Benden:

Mark Benden graduated from Texas A&M University with Bachelor of Science degree in Biomedical Engineering. He then pursued Industrial Engineering by earning Master of Science Degree from Texas A&M University with Safety Engineering as minor and Ergonomics as specialization. Benden is also a PhD in Interdisciplinary Engineering from Texas A&M.

During his commissioned stay as an officer in the United States Army Reserve, Benden was listed as combat medic with the Texas Army National Guard. He also worked as Executive Vice President for Neutral Posture, Inc, plant Ergonomic Engineer, Ergonomic Consultant, corporate Ergonomist at Johnson & Johnson Inc and Rehabilitation Engineer. Currently he is working as Rural Public health Assistant Professor in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health at Texas A&M Health Science Center.

Benden has authored several chapters and contributed many articles on Ergonomics. He has also been invited as a lecturer and speaker at various institutions and professionals groups throughout North America, South America and Caribbean. He also holds 18 US Patents for current ergonomic office products and has many patents pending.

Certificates and Honors:

-          Recipient of Certificate #706 as a Certified Professional Ergonomist in Professional Ergonomics Inc from the Board of Certification

-          Currently he is a holder of 18 US Patents for several office products (and many more patents are pending)

-          An active member of Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, The American Society of Safety Engineers and Institute for Industrial Engineers

Mark is a proud father of three sons, Justin,Travis and Luke.

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