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Alana D. Knudson

Pronouns: She/Her

Senior Fellow
Alana is a national leader in rural health research and capacity development.

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


Luther College

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

Project Contributions

Appalachian Overdose Mapping Tool

An online tool enables sophisticated analysis of opioid crisis in Appalachia


Appalachian Regional Commission

Rural Health Mapping Tool

An interactive mapping tool to help guide rural communities’ strategies around COVID-19


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Tribal Health Profession Opportunity Grants (HPOG) 2.0 Evaluation

A culturally responsive evaluation of tribal career pathways programs


Administration for Children and Families

Improving Rural Health Care Delivery in Maryland’s Mid-Shore Region

Developing innovative health care delivery models with the University of Maryland


Maryland Health Care Commission

Community Health Toolkits for Rural America

Evidence-based approaches for building effective rural community health programs


Federal Office of Rural Health Policy, Health Resources and Services Administration

Evaluation of the Pennsylvania Rural Health Model

Assessing efforts to improve the financial health of rural hospitals and maintain access to care


Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation within the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

Maryland Health Care Commission Telehealth Survey

Exploring what health care providers think and do regarding remote contact with patients


Maryland Health Care Commission