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Students/Faculty News Rylan Gray May 20, 2024

Ozaydin NewsDean Shadi Martin (Graduate School), Bunyamin Ozaydin, Dean Andrew Butler (School of Health Professions)

Bunyamin Ozaydin, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Health Services Administration and scientist at the Heersink School of Medicine Informatics Institute, was selected as a winner of the 2024 Graduate Dean’s Award for Excellence in Mentorship.

“It’s such an honor to receive a university level award for mentorship,” said Ozaydin. “As faculty members, we all strive to be the best mentor we can be for our students. Through mentorship you want your students to be the best version of themselves and for them to achieve their full potential. It’s very satisfying to know my mentees recognize the benefit of what they receive and would take the time and effort to write letters on my behalf.”

Referred to by his students as “Dr. O,” Ozaydin is regarded as a fan favorite. He leads by example and selflessly gives his students and mentees the tools, patience, and confidence to be successful.

Ozaydin teaches in the Master of Science in Health Informatics (MSHI) program and mentors students in the PhD in Administration-Health Services program. His academic and research background is wide ranging, including data infrastructures, decision support systems, information systems, and data and text mining to name a few. As an esteemed research scientist, he’s conducted a vast amount of research in health data infrastructures that enable data mining and analytics for health research and application of machine learning techniques in healthcare.

“Dr. Ozaydin’s multidisciplinary expertise, innovative research, and teaching dedication have advanced the field and significantly impacted the lives and careers of his students,” said JaMor Hairston, MSHI, MS, one of his nominators and former students.

Ozaydin is commended by his faculty colleagues for his extensive knowledge and willingness to share what he’s learned with others. Among those qualities, he is known for his nurturing spirit and selfless dedication to his mentees. Always making time for his students, he has a way of making every student feel like he is their mentor alone. He encourages students to challenge themselves and apply forward thinking in all aspects, no matter what level the student is he is mentoring.

“Seeing great people do it before me really inspired me to be a good mentor,” said Ozaydin. “I’ve always envied my professors, particularly my dissertation advisor I had in UAB Engineering, and senior faculty in Health Services Administration. When they mentored me, they made sacrifices not accepting anything in return and it inspired me to do the same.”

“His welcoming demeanor and unwavering support empowered me to overcome academic challenges, guiding me towards success in my coursework,” said M’Kaila Isom, MSHI, CAHIMS, one of his nominators and former students. “Dr. Ozaydin's passion for health informatics and data analytics is profound, infusing his teaching with enthusiasm that inspires students like me.”

 “Going through the health informatics curriculum for a student without a technical background is usually a stressful position for them so with that in mind, my approach to mentorship is customization based on the mentee,” says Ozaydin. “Allocating the individual time and finding out exactly where the student is struggling and figuring out the best approach for the student to learn and succeed.”

After Ozaydin began teaching, he started to see the impact he was having as his students would land jobs after graduating, get promotions and achieve success. Those very students would come back expressing their excitement and appreciation for what they learned and the time and dedication it took to help them achieve said success.

“Your former students coming up to you and saying what you did was useful in their lives is the most satisfying aspect of mentorship to me,” said Ozaydin.

Ozaydin teaches several of the most difficult courses in the MSHI program. Many of the students have backgrounds in health care but the majority are non-technical, making what he teaches extremely taxing. Perhaps the most challenging of the courses is HI 613, being that it’s the first course of the first semester of the MSHI program, it often shocks students with its high degree of demand and challenge of traditional thinking.

“Time and time again, while students are in HI 613, they comment on the difficulty,” said Sue Feldman, RN, Med, PhD, FACMI, professor and director of Graduate Programs in Health Informatics in Health Services Administration. “Then once students are taking other technical courses and doing their applied capstone projects in the second year, they comment on how valuable the course is to their overall success.”

“In the beginning what I’m teaching is like a foreign language to the students because it’s different than what they’re used to and it is challenging,” said Ozaydin. “But like learning a foreign language, when you learn it, it opens the doors for you to a brand new culture. Like learning informatics, after they understand it, it opens brand new opportunities for them and that’s very satisfying to watch take place.”

Born in Turkey, Ozaydin received his bachelor’s degree from Marmara University in Turkey before making the journey to America for the first time in his life to attend UAB. In 2002, he earned his master’s degree in electrical engineering and his PhD in computer engineering in 2012. Before becoming a faculty member, Ozaydin worked in the Departments of Ophthalmology and Anesthesiology in a plethora of informatics roles for nearly 10 years.

Ozaydin WinnersOzaydin with the other Graduate School honorees.

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