BATON ROUGE, La, – Matt Fannin has spent much of his career researching the economics behind rural communities. His work has helped improve health access for rural residents and assisted local governments become financially prepared for natural disasters.
For this work Fannin, an agricultural economist with the LSU AgCenter and associate professor in the LSU College of Agriculture, was named a Rainmaker by the LSU Office of Research and Economic Development.
LSU recognizes Rainmakers as exceptional leaders in their fields who bring national and international prominence to LSU.
Five other LSU faculty members were named Rainmakers. Fannin was recognized as a mid-career scholar in in Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.
“It is nice to be part of a great group of scholars working with a variety of interesting topics,” Fannin said.
Fannin said the award stems from two of his projects. The first involved understanding health access for rural residents in Louisiana and the nation and developing strategies and best practices for retaining physicians in rural areas. He also looked at ways to evaluate efficiencies of federal programs that fund rural hospitals.
The second project focused on helping local governments become financially prepared for natural disasters. Through this research, Fannin said, governmental officials could see the optimal financial preparation they should have and the resources needed for the next hurricane.
“The benefit of these programs is not just research affiliated,” Fannin said. “Through the LSU AgCenter we’re able to take this research and put it into education programs for local government officials that work with disaster preparation and resiliency and identify gaps between their vulnerability and financial capacity.”
Fannin has been able to extend his research beyond the state’s borders and influence local governments nationwide through his affiliation with the Rural Policy Research Institute. The institute comprises scholars from across the country who provide un-biased research about contemporary rural policy issues and highlight innovate best practice models for rural development in the U.S. and internationally.
Fannin has also helped develop extension manuals to train extension agents and local government officials along with bringing the research into the classroom.
Fannin said he is proud of the award but credits others for his success.
”I think this has a lot more to do with other people who help you, such as my wife, Amy, and children who give up many hours so I am able to spend time in research. Also graduate students and research associates who have assisted me with this work over the years,” he said.