Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy

Maine Rural Health Research Center, Population Health and Health 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.


Visit the Flex Monitoring Team website to view publications authored by the Maine Rural Health Research staff.

New Publications

  • Ziller E, Lenardson J, Coburn A. Rural Implications of Medicaid Expansion under the Affordable Care Act. Minneapolis, MN: State Health Access Reform Evaluation; February, 2015.
  • Lenardson JD, Hansen AY, Hartley D. Rural and Remote Food Environments and Obesity. Current Obesity Reports. 2015. doi: 10.1007/s13679-014-0136-5.
  • Tupper JB, Gray CE, Pearson KB, Coburn AF. Safety of Rural Nursing Home-to-Emergency Department Transfers: Improving Communication and Patient Information Sharing across Settings. J Healthc Qual. 2015;37(1):55-65.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.