Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy

Population Health and Health Policy

Department of Transportation Wellness Evaluation

Duration: 
1/1/2007 - 1/30/2008
Collaborators: 
Maine Department of Transportation
Abstract: 

Research has been published showing the positive financial impact of health promotion; one valuable conclusionis that it is less expensive to prevent health risks for employees than to treat medical conditions once they occur. The Maine Department of Transportation Health and Wellness Program has had many successes and positive anecdotal examples; however, a comprehensive evaluation of the program is needed. Region 5 (Aroostok) staff and leadership along with the DOT Employee Wellness Director will partner with the MSPS to conduct such an evaluation.This project includes establishinga sustainable data collection and analysis system, which is essential for creating data driven employee wellness initiatives with measured outcomes. An employee wellness model will be designed that can be replicated in other settings/offices of Maine DOT. The results will be sued to assist decision makers on best investments for employee wellness programs.

Start Date: 
Mon, 2007-01-01
End Date: 
Wed, 2008-01-30
Legacy Muskie ID: 
4669

Cutler Institute awarded $600,000 to help youth raised in foster system

Marty Zanghi

USM's Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy has been awarded a $600,000 grant to help young people raised in Maine's foster system to prepare for college and the workforce.

The money comes from the Annie E. Casey Foundation as part of a $5.4 million national effort aimed at youth who are homeless or in either the foster care or juvenile justice systems.

"Many of these young people have suffered abuse or trauma and were raised in poverty and neglect," said Marty Zanghi, the Cutler Center's youth development director.

The money -- including an expected $400,000 more in matching funds -- will pay for contracted work with agencies in the target areas, starting with the greater Portland area and Penobscot, Kennebec and Somerset counties.

Nationally and in Maine, only about 3 percent of people who grow up in the foster care system achieve a college degree, he said.

"It's dramatically lower than the rate for the general population," Zanghi said. "It's a horrible outcome."

It doesn't have to be that way, though.

"There are young people that overcome these circumstances," he said. "I know people who have master's degrees and Ph.Ds."

The Casey Foundation's national effort is being called the "Learn and Earn to Achieve Potential" (LEAP) initiative.

The initiative is working on partnerships in Maine and nine other areas: Alaska, Arizona, California, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska and New York. In each case, people will adapt two evidence-based models to meet the needs of these youth, including support to address the trauma they may have experienced in their lives.

In Maine, the work will include a pair of successful programs, Jobs for Maine Graduates (JMG) and Jobs for the Future. Results will be carefully tracked, Zanghi said.

After the first year, the program is expected to grow.

"Eventually, the additional help will be available to all children, 14 and over, in the foster care system in the state of Maine," Zanghi said.

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