Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy

Population Health and Health Policy

Assessing the Proximity of Healthy Food Options and Food Deserts in a Rural Area in Maine


The purpose of the project described in this paper was to assess and describe the food environment facing public assistance clients in a rural county in Maine. Using the concept of a "food desert" and an objective tool for rating participating food outlets, the research team developed a spatial model of client access to healthy foods. The final map shows that most rural residents are within acceptable distances of well-rated stores, though these may not be supermarkets. Research Highlights: "Food Deserts" are defined by distance to supermarkets as sources of healthy food. Stores of all types can be objectively rated for fresh, reasonably priced healthy food. Food deserts re-assessed through ratings may not be true deserts. Information campaigns based on ratings can identify local places and foods to meet consumer needs

Publication Type: 
Journal Article
Publish Date: 
October 22, 2010

Nellie Mae Education Foundation nominates Pious Ali for the Lawrence W. O'Toole Award

Pious Ali

Pious Ali, Youth and Community Engagement Specialist in Cutler’s Children, Youth, and Families Programs, has been nominated for the Lawrence W. O’Toole Award by the Nellie Mae Education Foundation. Pious is one of six nominees from the New England states.

The Nellie Mae Education Foundation believes that student-centered learning – where learning is personalized, engaging, competency-based and not restricted to the classroom – will prepare young people to graduate high school ready to contribute to their communities and succeed. This award is given out each year to an individual, school district, or non-profit that has exhibited great leadership in moving student-centered approaches to learning forward in the New England region.

The winner will be selected by online voting and will be awarded a $100,000 grant to help advance student centered learning!


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