Brian E. Dixon, PhD has been named the first director of public health informatics for the Regenstrief Institute and Indiana University Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health at IUPUI.
Dr. Dixon’s position is a combined role with the Regenstrief Institute Clem McDonald Center for Biomedical informatics, where he is a research scientist, and the IU Fairbanks School of Public Health, where he is an associate professor of epidemiology.
“Globally, population and public health practitioners are faced with growing amounts of information that increasingly require the use of novel informatics approaches and tools to analyze, understand and develop solutions to problems facing populations,” said Peter Embi, M.D., president and CEO of the Regenstrief Institute. “As one of the nation’s leading informatics institutions, we are pleased to be working closely with the IU Fairbanks School of Public Health to draw upon our joint expertise to help tackle potential problems ranging from outbreaks of disease to bioterrorism and generally improving the health of populations — problems for which solutions require sophisticated, insightful and timely analysis of vast amounts of data.”
“I am thrilled that Dr. Dixon will be leading such an important area of research and education,” said Paul Halverson, founding dean and professor at the IU Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health at IUPUI. “He has been an instrumental leader in public health informatics training at both the Regenstrief Institute and the Fairbanks School of Public Health. His experience in healthcare information management has uniquely prepared him for this role, which builds on his impressive leadership and service to IUPUI and Indianapolis.”
In his expanded role, Dr. Dixon will lead informatics researchers, technical staff, as well as undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral students in the emerging field of public and population health informatics. He also will lead the application of informatics in public health, including surveillance, prevention, preparedness and health promotion, and engagement in the related field of population informatics, including working on information and technology issues from the perspective of groups of individuals and their interactions with the environment, work and living places.
Dr. Dixon has a Ph.D. in health informatics, a master’s degree in public affairs (MPA), and is a fellow of the American College of Medical Informatics (ACMI). He is also a research scientist with Regenstrief’s Center for Health Services Research, the Richard L. Roudebush Veterans Administration Medical Center, Indianapolis and the Center for Health Policy at the Fairbanks School of Public Health as well as an adjunct associate professor of health informatics at the IU School of Informatics and Computing.
He has conducted research supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, National Institutes of Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, among other national organizations.
“Brian Dixon is an outstanding research scientist, a revered teacher and colleague, and has a passion for excellence in all that he pursues,” said Shaun Grannis, M.D., director of the Regenstrief Center for Biomedical Informatics. “He has emerged as a national leader in advancing research and demonstrating the value of the burgeoning field of public health informatics.”
“Dr. Dixon is a leading scholar in public health informatics,” said Jiali Han, professor and chair of epidemiology at the IU Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health at IUPUI, and Rachel Cecile Efroymson Professor in Cancer Research. “His deep knowledge of public health informatics impacts the research we do, but also the real-world practice of health systems and public health agencies in Indiana. In this new role, Dr. Dixon will be able to expand our existing public health informatics efforts to further strengthen the partnership between Regenstrief and the Fairbanks School of Public Health.”
Dr. Dixon’s research focuses on applying informatics methods and tools to improve population health in clinical as well as public health organizations. His work leverages clinical and administrative data in electronic health records to improve population outcomes, better understand threats to public health as well as care delivery processes, examine public health business processes, and make population surveillance more efficient. His research also involves the design, implementation, and evaluation of information infrastructures as well as data quality in support of continuous use of electronic data.
He has played a key national role in projects that support interoperability standards, automated reporting of surveillance data to public health, and big data analytics in health care. Dr. Dixon’s teaching duties include courses on public health informatics, informatics evaluation methods, health information exchange, and big data/health analytics.