Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy

Maine Rural Health Research Center, Population Health and Health Policy

Zachariah Croll

Research Analyst

Office

432C Wishcamper Center

Contact Information

Phone: (207) 228-8247

Education: University of Southern Maine, B.A. Sociology, 2010

Research Interests: Rural health policy; population health; access to health services for vulnerable populations; patient safety and quality of care; health care financing; Medicare and Medicaid policy

Zachariah Croll is a Research Analyst at the Muskie School of Public Service, Maine Rural Health Research Center, aiding in all phases of the research process from project design to data collection and analysis. Zach completed his B.A. in Sociology at the University of Southern Maine, where coursework fostered his interest in the social determinants of health and illness as well as qualitative and quantitative research methods. His recent work has focused on a range of health policy topics including rural long term services and supports; rural health clinic practice transformation; the experience of care and health status of children enrolled in MaineCare; hospital patient safety and quality improvement; rural telepsychiatry; the Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility Program, and implementation of the Affordable Care Act in rural areas. Prior to joining the Muskie School, Zach was a policy analyst at RTI International where he examined the consistency of payment incentives, resource usage and outcomes for populations treated in acute and various post-acute care settings. 

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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