Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy


New article on EMS Performance Measures by Rural Health Research Center staff

Developing Program Performance Measures for Rural Emergency Medical Services has been published online in Prehospital Emergency Care, and is available at: The authors are John Gale, Andrew Coburn, Karen Pearson, Zach Croll, and George Shaler. Building on national efforts to develop EMS performance measures, the authors sought to identify measures relevant to the rural communities and hospitals supported by the National Rural Hospital Flexibility Program (Flex Program). The measures are intended for use in monitoring rural EMS performance at the community level as well as for use by state Flex Programs and the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy to demonstrate the impact of the Flex Program. Working with an Expert Panel, the authors identified 17 program performance measures to support EMS services in rural communities. These measures monitor the capacity of local agencies to collect and report quality and financial data, use the data to improve agency performance, and train rural EMS employees in emergent protocols for all age groups. FMI: John Gale

Gale presents on rural opioids at United Nations meeting in Vienna

John Gale, Research Associate at the Maine Rural Health Research Center, was invited to present at a three-day meeting of the Prevention, Treatment and Rehabilitation Section of the United Nation's Office on Drugs and Crime, held in Vienna, Austria the first week of June.The focus of the meeting is the development of a model program for drug prevention and treatment in rural areas. Gale's current research on rural opioids provided the context for his presentation, "The Overall Situation of Substance Use Disorder (SUD) Prevention and Treatment in Rural Settings."

Rural Center staff present at National Rural Health Association Annual Meeting

Erika Ziller, Deputy Director of the Maine Rural Health Research Center, and John Gale, Research Associate, each presented findings from their current research portfolio and both contributed to a panel discussion on the rural opioid crisis. For more information, visit the National Rural Health Association webpage at:

New Chartbook on the Use of Maine's Long Term Services and Supports (LTSS)

Prepared by research staff at the USM Muskie School of Public Service for the Maine Office of Aging and Disability Services, this Chartbook provides information on Maine adults who use MaineCare funded long term services and supports (LTSS). The Chartbook provides both demographic trends that impact Maine's LTSS system as well as data on the typical MaineCare service utilization and expenditures of different LTSS populations. The Chartbook will also help inform the discussion among policymakers, providers, consumers, and advocates as they work together to ensure that Maine’s LTSS system meets the needs of all its citizens. FMI: Kimberly Snow (

2015 Maine Crime Victimization Survey Report

The Maine Statistical Analysis Center hosted a press release forum for the 2015 Maine Crime Victimization Report on December 1, 2015.

Pearson and Shaler Present Community Paramedicine Study Findings at EMS Conference

Karen Pearson and George Shaler of the USM Muskie School presented findings from their evaluation of the Maine EMS Community Paramedicine Pilot Program at the EMS Conference in Rockland on November 13, 2015. The Community Paramedicine Pilot Program is comprised of 12 pilot sites located across the state of Maine. Community Paramedicine is the practice by an emergency medical services (EMS) provider in an out-of-hospital setting, providing patient evaluation and treatment within their scope of practice, directed at preventing or improving a medical condition as requested or directed by a physician. Pearson and Shaler found that, overall, Maine's Pilot Program highlighted the need for innovative solutions to integrating care coordination for patients with chronic conditions or who are at high risk for re-hospitalization.

Rural Maternal Smoking Behaviors Policy Brief Shared at APHA

Jean Talbot, Research Associate with the Maine Rural Health Research Center, and colleagues have published their study of the role of rural residence and single motherhood as risk factors for smoking. Their findings indicate that rural mothers are significantly more likely than their urban counterparts to be smokers, smoke frequently, and smoke heavily, even after adjusting for factors known to increase smoking risk. Talbot suggests that policymakers should consider methods for extending insurance coverage for smoking cessation interventions through the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid. Additionally, anti-smoking initiatives at the local, state, and national levels could play an important role in decreasing rural-urban disparities in smoking-related morbidity and mortality.

Rural Active Living Research Brief Highlights Obesity Challenges

David Hartley and Anush Yousefian Hansen of Maine Rural Health Research Centerare authors of a research brief which focuses on the evidence base for rural obesity rates as it relates to physical activity. They note that rural residents, who face high rates of obesity, limited access to healthcare providers, and high levels of poverty, have been identified as a "priority population" in the fight against obesity. In this brief, Hansen and Hartley describe the current research on the rural built environment that may be related to obesity or physical activity, and outline key policy implications.

Gale and Lenardson present webinar on opioid study

John Gale and Jennifer Lenardson, research associates at the Maine Rural Health Research Center, University of Southern Maine will present a webinar June 25, 2015 at 1pm ET in which they will provide an overview of their research on the prevalence of opioid use disorders in rural and urban settings and discuss issues with regard to workforce and providing treatment. They will be joined in the webinar by Holly Andrilla from the WWAMI Rural Health Research Center. The one-hour webinar is free and open to the public. Log in information: Enter as a guest and type your name. Use your phone and call 888-469-2038. Participant passcode: 3363788.

Ziller receives President’s Metropolitan University Leadership Award

Erika Ziller, Muskie School of Public Service Senior Research Associate, and Deputy Director, Maine Rural Health Research Center, was presented on June 19, 2015 with the President's Metropolitan University Leadership Award: Staff Award for Funded Research - a demonstrated commitment to addressing local, state, and national issues which contributes knowledge, and service in a particular field.Ziller was one of 6 recipients of the first-ever President’s Metropolitan University Leadership Award given to faculty and staff who best exemplify commitment and dedication to the University and who also demonstrate positive and effective relationships with students, their colleagues, and also, the surrounding community.