Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy

Population Health and Health Policy

Lindsey Smith

Research Associate
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410 Wishcamper Center

Contact Information

Phone: (207) 228-8370

Lindsey Smith is a Research Associate with the Cutler Institute.  She has extensive research and clinical expertise in the area of physical and behavioral health, with a particular focus on vulnerable populations and substance use disorders. Most of Lindsey’s research and evaluation work has focused on macro-level issues and has been designed to help systems reduce illness burden as well as healthcare utilization and costs. Much of her recent evaluation work has explored and evaluated models of integrated care and understanding mechanisms of practice transformation during quality improvement or program implementation.  She also has extensive research and clinical experience in the area of substance use disorders (SUD) and behavioral health with a specific emphasis on SUD in older adults.  Lindsey has extensive experience designing and managing program evaluations at the state and federal levels.  Her education and training has focused on a mixed-methods approach using both qualitative and quantitative research methods. Her expertise includes process and outcome evaluations, survey methodology, program monitoring, secondary data analysis, multivariate analysis, and psychometrics.  Lindsey’s current research portfolio includes evaluating the integration of a dementia screening into primary care practice; monitoring the implementation of Maine’s health homes program; evaluating training for primary care providers on the integration of screening for substance use disorders in primary care settings; and identifying enhancements to Maine’s model for projecting long-term care expenditures and use. 

Lindsey earned a BA degree in Criminology with a minor in Social Welfare Policy from the University of New Mexico (UNM) in 2000. Upon completion of her undergraduate studies, she worked at the Institute for Social Research (ISR), Center for Applied Research and Analysis at UNM, where she worked on a variety of projects aimed at evaluating substance abuse and criminal justice programs including the National Institute of Justice Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring Project, a statewide evaluation of juvenile drug courts, and an evaluation of New Mexico drunk driving initiatives.  In 2002, she left ISR to pursue her graduate education at the University of Pittsburgh were she received a master’s (2004) and doctorate (2009) in Social Work with a specialization in Gerontology.  As a result of her work on substance use disorders among geriatric populations, Lindsey was awarded the John A. Hartford Foundation Doctoral Fellowship (2007 – 2009) administered by the Gerontological Society of America.  Lindsey’s doctoral thesis examined the effects of the concurrent use of alcohol and medications on the physical and mental health of community-dwelling older adults.  After receiving her doctorate, Lindsey was an Advanced Fellow in Mental Health Research at the Mental Illness Research Education and Clinical Center (MIRECC), VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System, where she focused on research with older veterans with comorbid substance abuse disorders. She received additional post-doctoral training in health services research as a fellow at the Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion (CHERP), VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System.

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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