Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy

Population Health and Health Policy

Maine Rural Health Research Center 20th Anniversary Celebration

Event Date and Time: 
Thursday, November 15, 2012, 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM

Maine Rural Health Research CenterJoin us as we celebrate 20 years of rural health policy research by the Maine Rural Health Research Center, one of only seven national research and policy analysis centers funded by the Office of Rural Health Policy, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The event is free and open to the public. Please RSVP with Donna Reed.

Established in 1992, the Maine Rural Health Research Center draws on the multidisciplinary faculty, research resources, and capacity of the Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy within the USM Muskie School of Public Service. The center's mission is to inform health care policymaking and the delivery of rural health services through high quality research, policy analysis, and technical assistance on rural health issues of regional and national significance. Its portfolio of rural health services research addresses critical, policy-relevant issues in health care access and financing, rural hospitals, primary care, and behavioral health.

Billings Nicoll Forum, Wishcamper Center, 34 Bedford Street, USM Portland Campus
Contact Name: 
Donna Reed
Contact Phone: 
(207) 780-4846
Contact Email:

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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