Charles Fluharty, clinical professor of health management and policy, and founder, president, and CEO of the Rural Policy Research Institute (RUPRI), was recently honored by Iowa Wesleyan University as the inaugural recipient of the Presidential Medal for Outstanding Merit.
The award, conferred during the Iowa Wesleyan University commencement ceremony on May 7, recognizes Fluharty for “lifelong and exemplary leadership and commitment to advancing the development of rural life and communities.” The award also acknowledges the extensive work of RUPRI over the past 26 years to address “the full range of policy and program dynamics affecting rural people and places.”
Fluharty’s career has focused on service to rural people, primarily within the public policy arena. A seasoned policy analyst and practitioner, he has authored numerous policy studies, journal articles and policy briefs addressing the rural differential in public policy decision making. He is also a frequent speaker before national and international audiences, having delivered major public policy speeches in over a dozen nations, and has provided senior policy consultation to most federal departments, state and local governments, associations of government, planning and development organizations, and many foundations.
He was a German Marshall Fund Transatlantic Fellow from 2007 to 2011, and recently coordinated a collaboration between former Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear and U.S. House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers to address the severe economic dislocation resulting from the decline in the eastern Kentucky coal industry. His two-year engagement resulted in the establishment of Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR), a public/private/philanthropic intermediary collaborating across 60 counties in the Appalachian mountains.