Dr. Heidi K. Feldman, Ph.D., EMD, (Ph.D. Rutgers University) is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at Northeastern University, Boston. She teaches courses on conflict and negotiation, crisis communication and image management, and analyzing conversations in everyday life. As a researcher of language and social interaction, she uses a scientific method called conversation analysis, which relies on recorded conversations between people in real settings such as 911 emergency calls. By using conversation analysis, Dr. Feldman offers a systematic account of the various methods people use to produce actions, get activities started, and shows how people make sense of unfolding situations. Her research spans across various call centers from customer service to 911 emergency call centers. She collaborates with domestic and international scholars on subjects ranging from crisis talk to overcoming barriers in interaction and action design in institutional and ordinary talk. Most recently she’s collaborated on an international project focusing on how negotiators work to overcome suicidal persons’ resistance in police and 911 emergency call negotiations. Current projects focus on emergency medical calls where she considers interactional problems that delay the delivery of life-saving medication, how to reduce time for callers to perform CPR compressions on a patient in cardiac arrest, and how 911 emergency dispatchers work through a caller’s emotional hysteria to get them to focus on patient care during an emergency call.
Dr. Feldman’s work appears in top academic journals such as Communication Monographs, Research on Language and Social Interaction, Discourse Studies, among others. She presents her research at competitive academic conferences as well as professional conferences such as Navigator, NENA, and APCO. She is a TEDx Northeastern veteran, and shares stories about her work on podcasts hosted by the International Academy of Emergency Dispatch. Dr. Feldman also consults with Dispatch Supervisors and Quality Control managers to help improve efficiency in the call centers. By providing an analysis of problematic calls, or call types that pose the most significant challenge for dispatchers, Dr. Feldman has produced findings that lead to changes in policy, improve call handling procedures, and offers additional insight for training.