Dr. Harris is a Research Scientist at the Center for Assistive Technology and Environmental Access (CATEA) at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and a Visiting Lecturer in the School of Education at the University of Dublin. Over the past years, her work has employed a wide range of both quantitative and qualitative methodologies to better understand and evaluate the role of assistive technologies in defining and constructing disability, the relationship between pain and health, and in assessing the efficacy and impact of assistive technology devices on social and civic participation. Her most recent work has focused on better understanding political engagement and the experiences of voters with disabilities by performing in-depth interviews with people with disabilities, poll workers, and election officials across the United States. The results of this study led to the development of an enhanced interactive training tools to improve poll worker interactions and support of voters with disabilities so that people with wide ranging needs can more fully participate in this important civic process. This tool is currently undergoing nationwide evaluation.
At CATEA Fran has directed a project employing GPS data loggers to map the travel paths of wheelchair users in combination with prompted recall interviews in order to better describe and understand how people use wheelchairs in everyday life. Her work has also focused on physical barriers in the community that effect wheelchair use and community participation. She has also led projects that developed disability self-report instruments that measure the usability of wheelchairs in everyday life, and another that measures participation in the workplace among employees with disabilities.
Dr. Harris received her PhD in Anthropology with a special concentration in medical anthropology from the New School for Social Research. Dr. Harris lives in New York with her family.