Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy

Maine Rural Health Research Center

Established in 1992, the Maine Rural Health Research Center draws on the multidisciplinary faculty and research resources and capacity of the Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy within the USM Muskie School of Public Service. The Center's mission is to inform health care policymaking and the delivery of rural health services through high quality, policy relevant research, policy analysis and technical assistance on rural health issues of regional and national significance.

The Maine Rural Health Research Center focuses on barriers to health access for rural residents and related topics, including insurance coverage, Medicaid, behavioral health, long term services & supports, and challenges faced by rural providers (rural health clinics & critical access hospitals) in delivering and sustaining services. For over 20 years, the Maine Rural Health Research Center’s research agenda has focused on some of the most intractable health access problems facing rural residents, especially those with mental health and substance abuse issues and those facing financial barriers due to lack of insurance and under-insurance. That body of research has helped reveal the effects of policy and health system organization and financing on rural health access. The Center is committed to enhancing policymaking and improving the access, delivery and financing of rural health services by effectively linking its research to the policy development process through appropriate dissemination strategies.

New Publications

  • Gale J. Turning around the Struggling Rural Hospital: Shared Responsibility and Hard Work. Rural Matters: A Publication of the Texas Organization of Rural and Community Hospitals. Summer 2014;3(3):20.
  • Kilbreth E, Ziller E. Children's Health Policy: Promising Starts, Disappointing Outcomes. In: Morone JA, Ehlke D, eds. Health Politics and Policy. 5th ed. Independence, KY: Cengage Learning; 2014.
  • Lenardson JD, Hartley D, Gale J, Pearson KB. Substance Use and Abuse in Rural America. In: Warren JC, Smiley KB, eds. Rural Public Health: Best Practices and Preventive Models. New York: Springer Publishing Company; 2014:95-114.
  • Lambert D, Gale J. Integrated Care in Rural Areas. In: Warren JC, Smiley KB, eds. Rural Public Health: Best Practices and Preventive Models. New York: Springer Publishing Company; 2014:67-84.
  • Ziller EC. Access to Medical Care in Rural America. In: Warren JC, Smiley KB, eds. Rural Public Health: Best Practices and Preventive Models. New York: Springer Publishing Company; 2014:11-28.

Recent Presentations

Presentations at the National Rural Health Association (NRHA) Annual Meeting in Las Vegas, April 22-25, 2014:

  • Assessment of the Implementation of the ACA (Andrew Coburn)
  • Developing Rural Health Clinic Relevant Quality Measures (John Gale)
  • Electronic Health Record Adoption by Rural Health Clinics (Zach Croll)
  • Performance Improvement Strategies of Successful Critical Access Hospitals (John Gale and the Flex Monitoring Team)
  • The Role of Rural Residential Care Facilities (Andrew Coburn)
  • Rural Health Clinics and Patient-Centered Medical Home Transformation (John Gale)
  • Understanding Financial Turnarounds of Struggling Critical Access Hospitals (John Gale)

Additional presentations by the Rural Health Research Center staff:

  • Rural Implications of ACA Medicaid Expansions. State Health Access Reform Evaluation (SHARE) webinar. (Erika Ziller)
  • Implementing the Affordable Care Act. National Association of Rural Mental Health (Erika Ziller, David Lambert, and John Gale)


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Hartley Retires as Director of the Maine Rural Health Research Center

David Hartley, PhD

David Hartley, PhD, the Director of the Maine Rural Health Research Center (MRHRC) and a Research Professor of Public Health has announced that he will be retiring from the University of Southern Maine August 31st, 2014. David came to the University in 1994 and has directed the MRHRC since 2004. Andy Coburn, PhD, Research Professor of Public Health, will take over as the new MRHRC Director. Erika Ziller, PhD continues in her role as Deputy Director. David has had a distinguished career in rural health and rural health research, and has made lasting contributions to the field with his work on rural behavioral health, rural disparities and health, and rural active living.

A celebration will be scheduled in early fall to honor David and his many contributions to the field and the University.


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Justice Research

Cover: Maine Crime and Justice Data Book 2014

Using the most recent public safety, corrections, and court data available, the Maine Crime and Justice Data Book presents a portrait of the state's crime and justice indicators, including 10-year trends in Maine and comparisons with northern New England and the U.S. at large.

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Dementia in Maine

Dementia in Maine

As the oldest state in the nation, Maine faces the impending impact of Alzheimer’s disease on its social systems, community resources, and its health and long term care systems. This report provides a baseline picture of the current use of services by people with and without dementia in Maine. Learn more in Dementia in Maine: Characteristics, Care, and Cost Across Settings.

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