Lara Brooks serves as a Rural Health Analyst with the Oklahoma Office of Rural Health, and Dr. Brian Whitacre is a Professor and Extension Economist in Agricultural Economics at Oklahoma State University. Lara and Brian have been working together since 2008 on increasing community and hospital engagement in rural areas. They focus on things like funding and grants, quality of life and technological advancements.
“I like to think of leadership as the x-factor and it’s something that’s not necessarily tangible, it’s not equipment that you can purchase or hardware or software. But it’s the x-factor that can really make the best of an organization, business or even government.”
Lara primarily works with Oklahoma Critical Access Hospitals within the Flex program, the Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility Grant program. Brian generally works in the area of rural economic development, and also teaches an undergraduate class on rural development. Together they both work to help improve the quality of quality of life for people in rural America.