Maine Rural Health Research Center

Rural Active Living Research Brief Highlights Obesity Challenges

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.
Photo: Anush Y. Hansen

Gale and Lenardson present webinar on opioid study

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: Enter as a guest and type your name. Use your phone and call 888-469-2038. Participant passcode: 3363788.

Ziller receives President’s Metropolitan University Leadership 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.
photo: Erika Ziller receives staff award

Gale receives NRHA Volunteer of the Year award

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 :
photo: John Gale at national Rural Health Association

Webinar: Veterans Choice Program

Join us on Tuesday, March 3, 2015, 3:00 - 4:00 p.m. (EST) for a discussion of the new Veterans Choice Program. The Veterans Choice Program is a new program from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) that expands access to healthcare to veterans by allowing them to receive care from non-VA healthcare providers. Link: Call-in:1-888-831-8965 Passcode: 5914375

Webinar: Veterans Choice Program

Event Date and Time: 
Tuesday, March 3, 2015, 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Webinar link:
Contact Name: 
Karen Pearson
Contact Phone: 
Contact Email:

Join the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) for the Veterans Choice Program Webinar on Tuesday, March 3, 2015, 3:00 - 4:00 p.m. (EST). The Veterans Choice Program is a new program from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) that expands access to health care to thousands of veterans by allowing them to receive care from non-VA healthcare providers.  This program provides an opportunity for rural healthcare providers to partner with the VA in providing services to rural veterans.

Access Info:


Call-in: 1-888-831-8965 Passcode: 5904375

Note: Registration is not required for this webinar

An audio recording and written transcript will be made available to participants approximately one week following the webinar.


Gina Capra, Director, U.S. Veterans Health Administration (VHA), Office of Rural Health;

Lelia Jackson, Acting Director, VHA, Office of Community Engagement TriWest and Health Net Representatives

Webinar on Integrating Behavioral Health in Rural Primary Care

John Gale of the Maine Rural Health Research Center, USM Muskie School, will be co-presenting a webinar on rural behavioral health and primary care integration issues on 2/26/15 from 2-3:30 pm ET. Join this webinar to get an overview of integration models used in rural settings, planning best practices, financing considerations, and implementation strategies for primary care and behavioral health providers to collaborate and better meet the behavioral health needs of their communities.

Rural and Remote Food Environments and Obesity


Researchers at the Maine Rural Health Research Center Rural have published a review in the January 2015 issue of Current Obesity Reports describing the rural community, home, and individual food environments and what is known about their roles in healthy eating.

Abstract: Rural residents are more likely to be obese and overweight compared to their urban counterparts. Studies of specific rural communities have found that the limited availability of healthy foods in the community and home as well as individual characteristics and preferences contribute to poor diet and overweight. The rural food environment is varied and may be affected by climate, regional and cultural preferences, transportation access, and remoteness among other factors. Given this diversity and the vulnerabilities of rural residents, who are more likely to have low-income, substandard housing or low educational attainment compared to their urban counterparts, policy and programmatic interventions should target specific needs and communities.

Suggested Citation: Lenardson, J. D., Hansen, A. Y., & Hartley, D. (2015). Rural and remote food environments and obesity. Current Obesity Reports. doi: 10.1007/s13679-014-0136-5

Publication Type: 
Journal Article
Publish Date: 
January 30, 2015


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