UNK professor Liaquat Hossain named new population health chair

Liaquat Hossain will serve as the inaugural Nebraska Healthcare Collaborative Chair of Population Health at UNK. (Photo by Erika Pritchard, UNK Communications)
Liaquat Hossain will serve as the inaugural Nebraska Healthcare Collaborative Chair of Population Health at UNK. (Photo by Erika Pritchard, UNK Communications)

UNK Communications

KEARNEY – The University of Nebraska at Kearney College of Business and Technology has selected Liaquat Hossain to serve as the inaugural Nebraska Healthcare Collaborative Chair of Population Health.

A professor and chair of UNK’s Department of Cyber Systems, Hossain will lead a partnership with CyncHealth and the Nebraska Healthcare Collaborative aimed at improving the health of Nebraskans and building the state’s health care workforce.

“I’m excited to work with CyncHealth and other health care organizations to develop educational and research programs that support the state’s public health workforce and positively influence policy development and health outcomes for all Nebraskans,” Hossain said.

Supported by a $1 million permanently endowed fund established by CyncHealth, the new UNK position will provide leadership, strategic planning and advocacy focused on population health, health care costs, patient experience and clinician wellness.

Ann Polich
Ann Polich

Hossain will engage with faculty, staff and students across the University of Nebraska System, as well as clinical partners involved in population health and health care research. He will also partner with CyncHealth to develop and support its research and scholarship efforts and serve on the Nebraska Healthcare Collaborative board.

“The Nebraska Healthcare Collaborative is thrilled to partner with UNK and Dr. Hossain to empower a future workforce that is health data-informed and continue to grow the health data utility,” said Dr. Ann Polich, chief medical officer for CyncHealth and executive director of the Nebraska Healthcare Collaborative.

Established in 2008, CyncHealth is a nonprofit organization that enables providers to exchange health care data and supports them in providing holistic, effective care for all patients. CyncHealth is home to the designated statewide health information exchange, prescription drug monitoring program and social determinants of health platform, Unite Nebraska.

Since joining UNK in May 2019, Hossain has led a dramatic transformation within the Department of Cyber Systems that strengthened course curriculum, increased student enrollment and attracted talented faculty. His focus on multidisciplinary collaborations allows UNK to pursue new research opportunities and degree options that combine technology with areas such as business, social science, teacher education and health care.

An expert in computer science, complex systems and communication networks, his research focuses on areas such as social medicine, disaster medicine and public health preparedness, with a specific emphasis on disasters requiring a multijurisdictional, coordinated response, as well as health systems, health promotion and risk reduction for vulnerable populations. He is currently leading a number of research projects related to COVID-19, including resilience networks for pandemic preparedness and response coordination, social resilience networks for emotional contagion during the pandemic and digital mental health interventions.

Tim Jares
Tim Jares

“Dr. Hossain not only possesses a firm understanding of complex systems and technology, but he also has a breadth of expertise in the health care domain. He understands how we can use technology, from data analytics to machine learning and artificial intelligence, to take full advantage of the rich data sets CyncHealth has been compiling,” said Tim Jares, dean of the UNK College of Business and Technology.

“By combining Dr. Hossain’s expertise with his broad network, we have a fantastic opportunity to bring experts from across the state and various disciplines together in synergistic ways to accomplish things we otherwise could not,” Jares added.

Recognized as a top researcher in his field, Hossain has secured more than $10 million in competitive research funding during his academic career and published over 200 international peer-reviewed articles. He is specialty editor-in-chief of Frontiers in Psychology, the second-most-cited psychology journal, and Frontiers in Communication, with a focus on disaster communication. He’s also been appointed associate editor for BMC Health Services Research, an open-access health care journal.

Hossain was recognized in November as the Tech Educator of the Year during the annual AIM Tech Awards presented by the AIM Institute.

Prior to joining UNK, he spent time at Lund University in Sweden, the University of Sydney in Australia, Syracuse University in New York, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and University of Hong Kong.