Laura Payne is a professor in the Department of Recreation, Sport, and Tourism and an extension specialist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Her overarching goal is to improve the health and well-being of Illinois residents through translational research, education, and training in health (promotion and behavior change) and support the adoption and dissemination of evidence-based health and wellness programs.

In addition to publishing numerous journal articles, she has developed and directed several funded statewide translational research and outreach programs such as the Illinois Rural Recreation Development Project, Illinois Senior Wellness Initiative, and Take Charge of Your Health: Live Well Be Well.