Muskie School of Public Service

Public Health Faculty & Alumna Recently Published

Public Health Assistant Research Professor Kate Ahrens and Master of Public Health alumna Sarah Gabrielson were authors on a recently published article in the February 2020 issue of the journal Public Health. 

With financial support from the Maine Economic Improvement Fund, Sarah had the opportunity to use hospital inpatient discharge data available from the Maine Health Data Organization to dive into a topic of interest to her and her mentor Dr. Ahrens.

Their article, titled Maternal opioid use disorder at delivery hospitalization in a rural state: Maine, 2009-2018, examined the prevalence, maternal characteristics, and geographic distribution of maternal opioid use disorder at delivery hospitalization in Maine over the past decade. 

Since 2009, the prevalence of maternal opioid use disorder has increased, accounting for one in every 29 deliveries in the state of Maine in 2018. Overall and for most study years, the prevalence of opioid use disorder was higher in counties designated as rural as compared to urban. Their findings support the need for opioid use disorder prevention and treatment for women in Maine, especially in rural areas. 

Sarah shares, “I am thrilled to be a published author! I am thankful for the opportunity to learn from Dr. Ahrens how to design an epidemiologic study, work with large data sets, and go through the process of manuscript preparation from literature review to journal submission. Dr. Ahrens scaffolded my learning with the right balance of clear direction and freedom to muddle through on my own. Along with other educational opportunities at the Muskie School of Public Service, this process has prepared me for my current work as a Research Navigator at Maine Medical Center’s Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital and MaineHealth’s Children’s Health Service Line.”

The full-text article can be accessed for free through April 18, 2020.