New Staff Feature: Laura Jane Ward joins NCRHLA

Please welcome Laura Jane Ward, who joined the NC Rural Health Leadership Alliance this month as Program Manager.  In this role, Laura Jane will manage the NCRHLA’s general operations and work closely with the Alliance’s members and diverse work groups to develop useful resources and meaningful partnerships to address rural health concerns in the state. We asked Laura Jane a few questions to get to know her better:

Where are you from and how did you end up in North Carolina?  

I was born in West Virginia and spent the first ten years of my life on my family’s farm there. When I was ten, my mother relocated us to Wilkesboro, NC. For most of my life I’ve considered Wilkes County “home”. I graduated from Appalachian State University, moved to Virginia for a few years, the returned to Wilkes. I also lived in Boone, NC prior to moving to Raleigh two years ago.

People often say that North Carolina is the perfect state, with mountains, coastline, and everything in between…I have to say I tend agree!

What drew you to the Foundation/the North Carolina Rural Health Leadership Alliance? 

Rural healthcare has long been both a personal and professional interest, having grown up in rural communities. I was drawn to the Foundation because of the holistic and collaborative approach taken to addressing the needs of rural communities.

What type of organizations have you worked for in the past? 

Earlier in my career I worked in a variety of roles in nursing homes in Virginia and North Carolina. My most recent experiences have been within regional and state government.   

What are you excited for in this position? 

I am very excited to learn more about healthcare from a broader perspective and about all the alliance member organization! I am also looking forward to more opportunities to participate with collaborative work groups, which was one of my favorite aspects of my previous work as a long-term care ombudsman.

What do you like to do for fun/ in your free time?

I enjoy cooking, hiking, spending time with my fur-child (cat) Sophia, and road trips with friends.