2019 Inspiring Alumni Award Recipient: Brian Dixon, PhD

Brian Dixon, PhD, is an accomplished scholar and instrumental leader in public health informatics. His professional accolades are numerous: in 2018 alone he was named the first-ever director of public health informatics for the Regenstrief Institute and Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health at IUPUI; elected to Fellowship within the American College of Medical Informatics; and awarded the 2018 Research Frontiers Trailblazer Award. What truly sets Brian apart, however, is his long history of and unwavering dedication to public service and mentoring.  Mentorship, he says, “is important because it allows me to develop individuals who are the future leaders in my field, in my organizations, and in the community. I have benefitted from mentorship, and it is important that I help mentor the next generation.”

Brian learned the importance of mentoring early in life, after being paired with an influential mentor through Big Brothers Big Sisters. While a sophomore at DePauw University, he heard about College Mentors for Kids, and – never content to sit on the sidelines – volunteered to lead the effort to bring the program to his campus. A transformative experience for Brian, serving as the founding chapter president taught him how to start an organization, recruit volunteers, engage community partners, and advocate for causes important to him.

These lessons stayed with Brian as he settled in Indianapolis and began his professional and civic career.  Over the last decade, among other roles, he has served on the board of College Mentors for Kids; as president of the Indiana Chapter of the American Society for Public Administration; in various leadership roles for the American Medical Informatics Association; and on the board of directors for the International Society for Disease Surveillance. He volunteers for JumpIN for Health Kids, providing strategic guidance and data sources to measure progress towards goals around improving childhood obesity rates. Brian has also served as Cubmaster of Pack 398 since 2015, assisting and mentoring den leaders in planning and executing activities that support youth achievement and personal development. 

Gaining an understanding of the importance of career mentorships from his own mentors at the Regenstrief Institute, Brian commits himself fully to developing others within his field. He created the public health informatics fellowship program which offers mentorship for both pre- and post-doctoral students and mentors dozens of students on an individual basis. He serves as a personal and professional role model for many, and constantly creates opportunities for his students in research, volunteering, and professional development. As one mentee says, “It is hard not to be impressed by Brian. As a doctoral student who has chosen an academic pursuit, I strive to follow his lead. His devotion to people is inspiring.”


meet the 2019 finalists