Established in 1992, the Maine Rural Health Research Center draws on the multidisciplinary faculty and research resources and capacity of the Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy within the USM Muskie School of Public Service. Rural health is one of the primary areas of research and policy analysis focus within the Institute, and the Center builds upon the Institute's strong record of research, policy analysis, and policy development that addresses critical problems in health care.
The Maine Rural Health Research Center's mission is to inform health care policymaking and the delivery of rural health services through high quality, policy relevant research, policy analysis and technical assistance on rural health issues of regional and national significance. For the past 20 years, the Maine Rural Health Research Center’s research agenda has focused on some of the most intractable health access problems facing rural residents, especially those with mental health and substance abuse issues and those facing financial barriers due to lack of insurance and under-insurance. That body of research has helped reveal the effects of policy and health system organization and financing on rural health access. The Center is committed to enhancing policymaking and improving the access, delivery and financing of rural health services by effectively linking its research to the policy development process through appropriate dissemination strategies. The Center's core funding from the federal Office of Rural Health Policy is targeted to access to rural health services and behavioral health.