Kayla Alvis, AcademyHealth's Fall 2023 Health Policy Fellow, recently obtained her Ph.D. in Rural Sociology with an interdisciplinary specialization in Demography from The Ohio State University. Her educational journey includes a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of Mississippi and a master's in Behavior Analysis and Therapy from Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Kayla's research primarily focuses on the social determinants of health, rural health disparities, and disability health. Her dissertation delved into analyzing health outcomes for individuals with disabilities based on their rural residency and county context. In the 2022-2023 academic year, she served as a Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) fellow at Ohio State's Nisonger Center, where she contributed to research addressing the Direct Support Professional labor shortage crisis for individuals with disabilities. Kayla also actively contributes as a board member of the Ohio Rural Health Association, leading stakeholder engagement efforts to enhance healthcare access in rural areas within the state. She has also conducted research with the Ohio Policy Evaluation Network focused on reproductive health in rural Appalachia.

Before pursuing her Ph.D., Kayla earned her master's degree and gained clinical experience working with children with developmental disabilities in various settings across the United States. Kayla's dedication lies in leveraging rigorous research to advance evidence-based policy. Her unique background offers a distinct perspective on bridging the gap between research, clinical practice, and policy.