Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy

News: Maine Rural Health Research Center

Developing Program Performance Measures for Rural Emergency Medical Services has been published online in Prehospital Emergency Care, and is available at: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10903127.2016.1218978. The authors are John Gale, Andrew Coburn, Karen Pearson, Zach Croll, and George Shaler. Building on national efforts to develop EMS performance measures, the authors sought to identify measures relevant to the rural communities and hospitals supported by the National Rural Hospital Flexibility Program (Flex Program). The measures are intended for use in monitoring rural EMS performance at the community level as well as for use by state Flex Programs and the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy to demonstrate the impact of the Flex Program. Working with an Expert Panel, the authors identified 17 program performance measures to support EMS services in rural communities. These measures monitor the capacity of local agencies to collect and report quality and financial data, use the data to improve agency performance, and train rural EMS employees in emergent protocols for all age groups. FMI: John Gale
photo: United Nations Office on Durgs and Crime (UNODC)
John Gale, Research Associate at the Maine Rural Health Research Center, was invited to present at a three-day meeting of the Prevention, Treatment and Rehabilitation Section of the United Nation's Office on Drugs and Crime, held in Vienna, Austria the first week of June.The focus of the meeting is the development of a model program for drug prevention and treatment in rural areas. Gale's current research on rural opioids provided the context for his presentation, "The Overall Situation of Substance Use Disorder (SUD) Prevention and Treatment in Rural Settings."
Erika Ziller, Deputy Director of the Maine Rural Health Research Center, and John Gale, Research Associate, each presented findings from their current research portfolio and both contributed to a panel discussion on the rural opioid crisis. For more information, visit the National Rural Health Association webpage at: http://www.ruralhealthweb.org/go/left/programs-and-events/nrha-conferences/nrha-annual-conference
Jean Talbot, Research Associate with the Maine Rural Health Research Center, and colleagues have published their study of the role of rural residence and single motherhood as risk factors for smoking. Their findings indicate that rural mothers are significantly more likely than their urban counterparts to be smokers, smoke frequently, and smoke heavily, even after adjusting for factors known to increase smoking risk. Talbot suggests that policymakers should consider methods for extending insurance coverage for smoking cessation interventions through the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid. Additionally, anti-smoking initiatives at the local, state, and national levels could play an important role in decreasing rural-urban disparities in smoking-related morbidity and mortality.
Photo: Anush Y. Hansen
David Hartley and Anush Yousefian Hansen of Maine Rural Health Research Centerare authors of a research brief which focuses on the evidence base for rural obesity rates as it relates to physical activity. They note that rural residents, who face high rates of obesity, limited access to healthcare providers, and high levels of poverty, have been identified as a "priority population" in the fight against obesity. In this brief, Hansen and Hartley describe the current research on the rural built environment that may be related to obesity or physical activity, and outline key policy implications.
John Gale and Jennifer Lenardson, research associates at the Maine Rural Health Research Center, University of Southern Maine will present a webinar June 25, 2015 at 1pm ET in which they will provide an overview of their research on the prevalence of opioid use disorders in rural and urban settings and discuss issues with regard to workforce and providing treatment. They will be joined in the webinar by Holly Andrilla from the WWAMI Rural Health Research Center. The one-hour webinar is free and open to the public. Log in information: https://hrsa.connectsolutions.com/gateway_rural_opioid_research/ Enter as a guest and type your name. Use your phone and call 888-469-2038. Participant passcode: 3363788.
photo: Erika Ziller receives staff award
Erika Ziller, Muskie School of Public Service Senior Research Associate, and Deputy Director, Maine Rural Health Research Center, was presented on June 19, 2015 with the President's Metropolitan University Leadership Award: Staff Award for Funded Research - a demonstrated commitment to addressing local, state, and national issues which contributes knowledge, and service in a particular field.Ziller was one of 6 recipients of the first-ever President’s Metropolitan University Leadership Award given to faculty and staff who best exemplify commitment and dedication to the University and who also demonstrate positive and effective relationships with students, their colleagues, and also, the surrounding community.
Andrew Coburn, Zach Croll, John Gale, Jean Talbot, and Erika Ziller of the Maine Rural Health Research Center presented their research at the 38th Annual National Rural Health Association Annual Conference held in Philadelphia April 14-18.
photo: John Gale at national Rural Health Association
John Gale, Senior Research Associate with the Maine Rural Health Research Center, was presented with the 2015 National Rural Health Association (NRHA) Volunteer of the Year Award at NRHA's 38th Annual Rural Health Conference April 16 in Philadelphia. To view the video go to :https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xowct9wOYME&list=PLrLzXxrhUwSf-FTs0Erkcj4E8i_3AMAFe&index=10.
photo: Erika Ziller
Dr. Erika Ziller, Deputy Director of the Maine Rural Health Research Center, presented her findings on Rural Implications of Medicaid Expansion under the Affordable Care Act to the visiting researchers from Guangxi Normal University (GNU), Guilin, China on April 21, 2015 as part of the 2-day Sino-American International Research Forum.

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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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