Alana is the director of the NORC Walsh Center for Rural Health Analysis and has over 25 years of experience leading health services research projects and implementing and evaluating public health programs. She has deep expertise in rural health, health equity, public health, health services research, telehealth, and evaluation. Alana has conducted numerous health services and health policy studies and public health projects funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, U.S. Agency for International Development, and The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, among others. Her project findings have informed state, tribal, and federal health policy.
Alana is the project director for the Pennsylvania Rural Health Model Evaluation funded by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) and the Health FFRDC funded study examining the use of telehealth services among rural and urban Medicare beneficiaries before and during COVID-19. She also serves as the Primary Investigator for the Health Services and Resources Administration’s (HRSA) Bureau of Health Workforce’s Substance Use Disorder Evaluation and the Provider Resiliency Evaluation, and leads NORC’s team for the ETSU/NORC Rural Health Equity Research Center, funded by HRSA’s Federal Office of Rural Health Policy. Alana also has extensive experience translating project findings into practice, such as the evidence-based toolkits housed on the Rural Health Information Hub (RHIhub) funded by FORHP. The toolkits, with almost 11 million page views, highlight evidence-based and promising programs implemented in rural communities that aim to improve the health and well-being of rural residents.
Prior to joining NORC in 2009, Alana was the Associate Director for Research at the Center for Rural Health at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences. Alana also has state and national public health experience having worked at the North Dakota Department of Health and for the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO).
Oregon State University
Oregon State University
Appointments & Affiliations
Health Panel Member
Rural Policy Research Institute
Board of Directors
Maryland Rural Health Association; National Rural Health Resource Center; Rural Health Foundation
Community Advisory Council
University of Maryland School of Public Health
Research Advisory Board
East Tennessee State University Center for Rural Health Research
Policy Advisory Board
Southern Illinois University School of Medicine Population Science
Honors & Awards
Researcher of the Year | 2021
National Rural Health Association
Event | May 16, 2023
Press Release | May 15, 2023
opens in new tab"Challenges and Opportunities in Diagnosing and Managing Mild Traumatic Brain Injury in Rural Settings."
Journal Article | July 18, 2022
Press Release | March 10, 2021
opens in new tab"Rural Primary Care Providers' Experience and Usage of Clinical Recommendations in the CDC Pediatric Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Guideline: A Qualitative Study."
Journal Article | November 2, 2020
Journal Article | September 1, 2020
Project Report | January 31, 2020
opens in new tab"A Practice Report from the Northern Dental Access Center: Offering Wraparound Services at a Community Dental Access Clinic to Improve Treatment Outcomes among Rural Populations in Poverty."
Journal Article | August 20, 2019