Alana D. Knudson

Alana Knudson serves as a program area director in NORC’s Public Health Research department and is the director of the NORC Walsh Center for Rural Health Analysis. Knudson 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. Knudson 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.

Knudson 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 leads NORC’s team for the ETSU/NORC Rural Health Equity Research Center, one of eight rural health research centers funded by HRSA’s Federal Office of Rural Health Policy.

Knudson has extensive experience translating project findings into practice and developing tailored communication strategies, such as the evidence-based toolkits housed on the Rural Health Information Hub (RHIhub) funded by the HRSA Federal Office of Rural Health Policy. The toolkits highlight evidence-based and promising programs implemented in rural communities that aim to increase access to healthcare services and prevention strategies to improve the health and well-being of rural residents. These toolkits have received almost 11 million page views since first launched in 2010.

Prior to joining NORC in 2009, Knudson was the Associate Director for Research at the Center for Rural Health at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences. Knudson 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).

Knudson is a member of the RUPRI Health Panel, and serves on the Board of Directors for the Maryland Rural Health Association, the National Rural Health Resource Center, and the Rural Health Foundation. She is also a member of the University of Maryland School of Public Health Community Advisory Council, the ETSU Center for Rural Health Research Advisory Board, and the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine Population Science Policy Advisory Board. Knudson received the 2021 National Rural Health Association Outstanding Researcher Award. Her passion is to make a meaningful difference in the health and well-being of rural residents and other underserved populations.