Meet Lauran Larson! She’s the Business Coordinator for the Oklahoma City-County Health Department, a Healthy Living Program grantee.
Read on to find out how Lauran discovered her calling in public health and how she went from a true couch potato to a real runner!
Q: Everyone has a story to tell! What have you done in the past (work, life, education)?
A: My story begins as a high school graduate of Elk City, Oklahoma. I wasn’t entirely sure what I wanted to do with my life, but I knew I wanted to get my education from the University of Oklahoma. I moved to Norman, where I still live today. During my time as an undergraduate I became a wife and mother, tutored student athletes, and volunteered as a peer educator. I completed my Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Sociology. My Master’s degree came next, kicked off by the birth of my son the very same week! Within the year I was working full-time in Social Services at Oklahoma Department of Human Services.
As if motherhood, full-time graduate work, and a full-time job were not enough, I chose to complete an internship with the Cleveland County CX tobacco grant. It was during this extremely busy time of my life that I discovered my calling. Just before graduating with that Master’s degree in Prevention Science, I accepted a job at Oklahoma City-County Health Department on their CX tobacco grant. Since then, the grant has transitioned to the TSET Healthy Living program. I thoroughly enjoy waking up each morning and knowing that my work is impactful and a part of something meaningful. I am very proud of the work that I do.
Q: What are you working on now?
A: My main two projects involve food access and smoke free multi-unit housing. Oklahoma County is large and has many areas with disproportionate health needs.
For my work in food access, I target small Mom and Pop convenience stores in food deserts with the FAMS assessment tool. Encouraging store owners and managers to improve the nutritional profile of their stores is the most important part of my work in food access. Change is not easy, but I do my best to show them the benefits of offering healthier foods.
I also work in assisting apartment complexes with adopting smoke-free policies. The apartment complexes I target are in areas which have disparate health outcomes. Through my work, I hope to create an environment which allows people to breathe the clean air they deserve to breathe and access the healthy foods they would otherwise have to travel miles to purchase.
Q: What are your favorite ways to use OK In the Know?
A: I enjoy the fact that fellow grantees are just a click away. If I need inspiration, I can visit the Forums and read about what other people in similar roles are doing in their communities. It is an easy way to connect and share ideas. I think we all benefit when we work together and build upon what each other is doing.
Ask her about….
I am usually the person that people go to when they need to brainstorm ideas. I enjoy creating projects and organizing ideas. I am very much a visionary. I love planning in general, both at work and in my personal life.
The fact I am most proud of is that I went from a true couch potato to a runner. Fitness had always been on the backburner for me until I chose to try the Couch to 5k app for the third time. I successfully completed the 9 week program in 2015 and learned to love running. I am happy to have a hobby that keeps me healthy, challenges me, and allows me to achieve goals I never thought I was capable of. The best part is inspiring others to do the same.