Maria Rodriguez-Alcala applies a holistic approach to health and wellness and takes a proactive angle aiming to balance the reactive model that still dominates in the Heartland. She previously worked for University of Missouri as a researcher, instructor and, more recently, as a field faculty in Extension. She also worked in Sao Paulo, Brazil for Icone – an applied economics-based think tank and Washington State University. Her multi-disciplinary background, combined with her international, statewide and, more recently, local community-level experiences, allows Maria to bring unique tools to the table to help change the approach on how to improve health in the mid-states. When compared to the coast states and other developed economies, it is clear to her that innovative ideas and strategic partnerships are needed. She has a B.S. in applied economics from Texas A&M University, M.S. in applied economics from University of Missouri, and a PhD in Sustainable Development from University of Missouri. When asked about why she chose to stay in the Heartland, she says that after living for many years in Missouri, hiking in the Ozarks, and building relationships at the community level, her heart belongs here.
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