Dr. Ozgur Araz, assistant professor of business analytics and Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Institute Faculty Fellow, arrived at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln College of Business Administration last fall with a wealth of accomplished analytical research in a very short time. His research includes a hybrid of health care and business analysis, which he sees as a perfect match for the new Department of Supply Chain Management and Analytics opening this year at CBA.
“I have many research projects going on all the time, and the area of business analytics allows me to constantly expand my interests,” said Araz. “Here at CBA, I’m beginning to organize my research in healthcare with more specific business applications.”
Araz, whose dissertation focused on modeling pandemic influenza, earned his Ph.D. in 2009 from the Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering at Arizona State University. He continued to grow in the health care field through his research and teaching at the McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin, and more recently as a faculty member at the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC).
“My interests began in modeling the history of diseases, and using that information for optimizing the distribution of antibiotics for infectious diseases or vaccines for pandemic type events. That’s how I got into health care. It’s related to operations research and operations management for public health,” said Araz.
His modeling of influenza and infectious disease continued in Texas, and he first came to Nebraska to teach system science courses for public health professionals at UNMC.
“System science is rather new in public health curriculum,” said Araz. “It allows people to think about causes and public health intervention opportunities. My research at UNMC was devoted to system models for chronic diseases, specifically obesity, which I’m still researching today. I’m involved in an international project which includes a university in my home country of Turkey, where we are collecting data to assess perceptions on childhood obesity. We analyze how behaviors are tied to perceptions in obesity.”
Araz began integrating his health care modeling at UNMC with practical business analysis, and he is continuing this work at CBA.
“I started applying data mining and business analytics tools to clinical data in order to improve clinical and financial outcomes for the hospital,” he said. “We analyze specific groups such as sepsis or heart failure patients, and try to find cost reduction potentials for them.”
He sees a bright future for any students wanting to study business analytics or supply chain.
“I believe students get the best training here for increasing their analytical skills,” Araz said. “The degree possibilities allow students to work anywhere they want, whether it’s in manufacturing, financial analysis or the health care industry. There are many jobs right now where businesses are looking for students with analytical skills and it’s exciting to be part of this new program.”