Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy

Population Health and Health Policy

Erika Ziller

Senior Research Associate and Deputy Director, Maine Rural Health Research Center
Erika Ziller


409 Wishcamper Center

Contact Information

Phone: (207) 780-4615

Education: University of Southern Maine, BA Social Work, 1994; University of Southern Maine, Muskie School of Public Service, MS Health Policy, 1998; Ph.D, 2012.

Areas of Expertise: health insurance coverage, the uninsured, children's health, rural health.

Research Interests: policy options for covering the uninsured, dynamics of health insurance coverage, individual health insurance, access to health care services for vulnerable populations (low-income individuals, children, rural residents)

Dr. Ziller is committed to policy-informed research aimed at reducing health disparities for vulnerable populations, particularly rural residents. She has directed numerous studies on rural health access, coverage, and health reform, including a recent analysis of the rural implications of the ACA Medicaid Expansion. In 2011, Dr. Ziller received the Louis Gorin Award for Outstanding Achievement in Rural Health Care from the National Rural Health Association in recognition of her contributions to rural health policy. She serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Rural Health.


Date Titlesort descending Type
2014 Access to Medical Care in Rural America Book Chapter
2010 Access to Mental Health Services and Family Impact of Rural Children With Mental Health Problems Working Paper
2008 Active Living for Rural Youth Research and Policy Brief
2009 Active Living for Rural Youth: Addressing Physical Inactivity in Rural Communities Journal Article
2016 Adverse Childhood Experiences in Rural and Urban Contexts Research and Policy Brief
2014 Children's Health Policy: Promising Starts, Disappointing Outcomes Book Chapter
2011 CO-OP Health Plans: Can They Help Fix Rural America's Health Insurance Markets? Research and Policy Brief
2013 Examining MaineCare’s Coverage Options Under the Affordable Care Act Research and Policy Brief
2012 Health Care Access and Use Among the Rural Uninsured Journal Article
2003 Health Insurance Coverage in Rural America Report
2014 Health Insurance Coverage of Low-Income Rural Children Increases and is More Continuous Following CHIP Implementation Research and Policy Brief
2009 Health Insurance Profile Indicates Need to Expand Coverage in Rural Areas Research and Policy Brief
2014 High Deductible Health Insurance Plans in Rural Areas Report
2014 Implications of Rurality and Psychiatric Status for Diabetic Preventive Care Use among Adults with Diabetes Research and Policy Brief
2016 Mental Health First Aid in Rural Communities Journal Article
2010 Mental Health Problems Have Considerable Impact on Rural Children and Their Families Research and Policy Brief
2006 Out-of-Pocket Health Spending and the Rural Underinsured Journal Article
2001 Patterns of Health Insurance Coverage among Rural and Urban Children Report
2009 Profile of Rural Health Insurance Coverage: A Chartbook Book/Monograph
2014 Profile of Rural Residential Care Facilities: A Chartbook Report
2008 Rural Adults Face Parity Problems and Other Barriers to Appropriate Mental Health Care Research and Policy Brief
2009 Rural Children Don't Receive the Mental Health Care They Need Research and Policy Brief
2013 Rural Considerations in Establishing Network Adequacy Standards for Qualified Health Plans in State and Regional Health Insurance Exchanges Journal Article
2007 Rural Families More Likely to be Uninsured and Have Different Sources of Coverage [Research & Policy Brief] Research and Policy Brief
2015 Rural Implications of Medicaid Expansion under the ACA Research and Policy Brief
2016 Rural Opioid Abuse: Prevalence and User Characteristics Research and Policy Brief
2014 Rural Residents More Likely to be Enrolled in High Deductible Health Plans Research and Policy Brief
2006 Rural Residents More Likely to be Underinsured (Policy Brief) Research and Policy Brief
2008 Rural-Urban Differences in Work Patterns Among Adults with Depressive Symptoms Working Paper
2002 State Licensure Laws and the Mental Health Professions: Implications for the Rural Mental Health Workforce. Executive Summary Report
2005 Use of Critical Access Hospital Emergency Rooms by Patients with Mental Health Symptoms Journal Article
2007 Use of Critical Access Hospital Emergency Rooms by Patients with Mental Health Symptoms Journal Article
2008 Use of Mental Health Services by Rural Children Working Paper

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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