Staff

Ira Moscovice, PhD | Principal Investigator

mosco001@umn.edu

Education

  • Ph.D., Administrative Sciences, Yale University, 1976
  • M.S., Operations Research, Columbia University, 1971
  • B.S.E.E., Electrical Engineering, City College of New York, 1969

Experience

Dr. Moscovice has more than 40 years of experience conducting rural health research. He has served as the principal investigator for numerous rural health projects funded by federal and state agencies and private foundations, including the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. He has served as the Principal Investigator of the Flex Monitoring Team for the past 15 years. 

He has served on numerous rural health and health services research and policy advisory committees for federal agencies and private foundations, including those sponsored by the Institute of Medicine, the National Academy of Medicine, the Joint Commission, the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy, AHRQ, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Research Interests

  • Development of rural quality and patient safety measures
  • Implementation of quality and patient safety initiatives in rural environments
  • Social determinants of rural health
  • Viability of rural hospitals

Awards

  • Article of the Year, Public Health Systems Research, AcademyHealth, 2009
  • Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Investigator Award in Health Policy Research, 2002
  • Distinguished Researcher Award, National Rural Health Association, 1992

Andrew Coburn, PhD | Co-Principal Investigator

coburn@maine.edu

Education

  • Ph.D. Health Policy, Heller School, Brandeis University, 1983
  • M.Ed. Education Policy, Harvard University, 1975
  • A.B. Human Studies, Brown University, 1972

Experience

Dr. Coburn is the founding director of the Maine Rural Health Research Center in the Muskie School of Public Service, University of Southern Maine. He has served as the Principal Investigator for rural health services and policy research studies funded by federal, private foundation, and state agencies, including the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Office of Rural Health Policy, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, among others. Since 1999, Dr. Coburn has served as a Co-Principal Investigator of the Multi-Center National Evaluation of the Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility Program (1999-2003) and the Flex Monitoring Team (2003-13).   

Dr. Coburn has presented Congressional testimony and conducted briefings on rural health policy topics and has served on various federal and national bodies, including the Institute of Medicine’s Committee on the Future of Rural Health Care and the Health Services Research Study Section for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Since 1993, Dr. Coburn has served on the Rural Policy Research Institute’s (RUPRI) Health Panel.  

Research Interests

  • Population health, community engagement, and community health improvement strategies among rural hospitals
  • Rural Health Clinics
  • Rural long term services and supports
  • Rural patient safety
  • The rural impact of health insurance coverage, financing, and delivery system reform

Awards

Distinguished Researcher, National Rural Health Association, 2000

Kristin L. Reiter, PhD | Co-Principal Investigator

reiter@email.unc.edu

Education

  • Ph.D. Health Services Organization and Policy, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, 2004
  • M.A.E. Applied Economics, University of Michigan, 2000
  • B.S. Accounting, Northern Illinois University, 1993

Experience

Dr. Reiter has nine years of experience conducting rural health services and policy research. She has served as lead investigator on multiple projects funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy on topics including the occupational mix adjustment to the Medicare hospital wage index, swing beds, and the rural effects of health reform.

Since 2017, Dr. Reiter has served as a co-Principal Investigator of the Flex Monitoring Team. She is also an investigator with the North Carolina Rural Health Research & Policy Analysis Center, and the Rapid Response to Requests for Rural Data Analysis, and Issue-specific Rural Research Studies.

Dr. Reiter has conducted webinars on the cost to Medicare for a day of care in a swing bed, and on ways rural hospital leaders and states can use the Critical Access Hospital Measurement and Performance Assessment System for monitoring rural hospital performance.

Research Interests

  • Rural hospital financial performance measurement
  • Critical Access Hospitals
  • Swing bed costs and outcomes
  • The rural impact of financing and delivery system reform
  • Access to care for rural and underserved populations

Michelle Casey, MS

mcasey@umn.edu

Education

  • M.S., Urban and Regional Planning, University of Wisconsin – Madison, 1982
  • B.A., Anthropology, Grinnell College, 1976

Experience

Ms. Casey has more than 30 years of experience in rural health research and policy analysis for the University of Minnesota Rural Health Research Center and Flex Monitoring Team. She has been the project leader and an investigator for numerous projects involving primary data collection (using surveys and case studies) as well as statistical analyses of secondary data.

Before joining the Rural Health Research Center, Ms. Casey worked on health policy analysis, rural health and primary care programs at the Minnesota Department of Health. She played a key role in establishing the Minnesota Office of Rural Health and Primary Care, and served as Assistant Director of the Office from 1992 to 1994.

Research Interests

  • Rural quality of care and patient safety initiatives
  • Quality measurement and improvement at Critical Access Hospitals
  • Access to care for rural Medicare beneficiaries and underserved populations
  • Obstetric care for rural women
  • Rural pharmacy services
  • End-of-life care in rural communities

Awards

  • Outstanding Rural Health Researcher award from the National Rural Health Association, 2006

Education

  • B.S., Business Administration, University of Southern Maine, 1979
  • M.S., Health Policy and Management, University of Southern Maine, Muskie School of Public Service, 2003.

Experience

Since joining the Maine Rural Health Research Center in 1999, rural health has been a central focus of Mr. Gale’s research. Building on his experience as a senior manager in primary care and behavioral health physician practices and other health care organizations, he has focused on the operation and function of rural delivery and safety net systems of care and the role of key rural providers including Rural Health Clinics, Critical Access Hospitals, and mental health providers in those systems of care. Other key areas of work have included the integration of primary care and behavioral health services, rural residents’ access to systems of care, the organization of mental health and substance abuse delivery systems, the use of health information technology by rural providers, rural substance abuse issues, and state and federal program management and evaluation. Mr. Gale has developed practical products and tools on community benefit, community health needs assessment, performance measurement, and logic modeling for use by rural providers and stakeholders including State Offices of Rural Health and Flex Programs. He is committed to giving back to the field by sharing his expertise and the results of the Flex Monitoring Team’s and Maine Rural Health Research Center’s work through participation on numerous boards, advisory committees, editorial, and expert panels as well as through speaking engagements, presentations, and webinars at national and state rural health meetings.

Research Interests

  • Community engagement, community benefit/impact and needs assessments
  • Rural Health Clinics
  • Critical Access Hospitals
  • Integration of behavioral health and primary care
  • Rural health delivery systems including primary care, mental health and substance abuse
  • Federal and state program management and evaluation

Awards and Honors

  • Senior Fellow, Health Research and Education Trust
  • Advisory Committee, Association for Community Health Improvement
  • President, New England Rural Health Roundtable (2009-2011)
  • Fellow, Secretary’s Primary Care Policy Fellowship, Dept. of Health and Human Services (2002)
  • Frontier and Rural Expert Panel, National Center for Frontier Communities
  • National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health Rural Health Clinic Advisory Committee

 

George Pink, PhD

gpink@email.unc.edu

Education

  • Doctor of Philosophy (Finance), Faculty of Management, University of Toronto, 1988
  • Master of Health Services Administration, Faculty of Medicine, University of Alberta, 1978
  • Bachelor of Commerce (Marketing), Faculty of Business, University of Calgary, 1975

Experience

Dr. Pink teaches courses in healthcare finance and is involved in several research projects, including the Rapid Response to Requests for Rural Data Analysis and Issue-specific Rural Research Studies, Rural Health Research Grant Program, and the Rural Hospital Flexibility Program Evaluation, all funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy. Prior to receiving a Ph.D. in corporate finance, he spent ten years in health services management, planning, and consulting. As a consultant, he directed or participated in planning projects for ten small, rural hospitals. In the past 25 years, he has served on over 100 boards and committees of hospitals and other healthcare organizations. He has written more than 80 peer-reviewed articles and has made more than 200 academic presentations in ten countries. He is a member of the Board and Chair of the Finance Committee of Piedmont Health Service, a large community health center that provides primary health care to residents of five largely-rural counties in North Carolina.

Research Interests

  • Rural Health
  • Rural Health Policy
  • Healthcare Finance

Awards

  • Outstanding Researcher Award, National Rural Health Association, 2013
  • Second Year Master’s Students Faculty Award, Department of Health Policy and Management, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2008
  • Eugenie Stuart Award for Excellence in Teaching, Department of Health Policy Management and Evaluation, University of Toronto, 2001
  • The Agnew Peckham Literary Prize (with Ross Baker), Canadian College of Health Service Executives, 1996

Karen Pearson, MLIS, MA

karenp@usm.maine.edu

Education

  • B.A., North Park University, Chicago, 1981
  • M.L.I.S, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 1983
  • M.A., St. Xavier University, Chicago, 1985

Experience

Ms. Pearson joined the University of Southern Maine’s Muskie School in 1992, bringing her professional skills of knowledge management and online information retrieval to the dedicated research faculty and staff in the Institute for Health Policy, now the Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy.  She quickly became part of the Maine Rural Health Research Center, assisting and then directing the national Rural Health Research in Progress project, which provided a synopsis of the funded research projects of the federal Office of Rural Health Policy’s Rural Health Research Program.  She currently directs, develops and administers information and publication dissemination services within the Cutler Institute, and provides in-depth literature searches for project-specific work in the fields of rural health, public health, Medicaid, and long-term care, identifying relevant policy and practice from state and federal agencies, and researching best practices. Additionally, she participated as part of the research staff on the AHRQ-funded SAFER project, conducting qualitative interviews with the Critical Access Hospital pilot teams. She recently conducted and published two evidence-based patient safety/quality improvement policy briefs for the Flex Program on falls prevention programs in Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) and on patient safety transfer protocols in CAHs. She currently directs a national project for the Flex Program on the evidence for community paramedicine in rural communities, which utilizes her qualitative interviewing skills and expertise in information retrieval.

Research Interests

  • Knowledge management
  • Rural patient safety
  • Rural health system access and delivery
  • Critical Access Hospitals and small rural hospitals
  • Rural EMS

Education

  • B.A., University of Southern Maine, 2010

Experience

Mr. Croll earned his BA in Sociology from the University of Southern Maine, where coursework fostered his interest in the social determinants of health and illness and provided a solid background in qualitative and quantitative research methods. Mr. Croll previously worked 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. Mr. Croll joined the Maine Rural Health Research Center and USM Flex Monitoring Team in 2010, where he contributes to the coordination and execution of research activities through the collection, management and analysis of project data. His recent work has focused on health insurance stability and access to care among rural residents; community benefit activities of Critical Access Hospitals; rural long-term services and supports; patient safety and quality improvement in rural hospitals; and implementation of the Affordable Care Act in rural areas.

Research Interests

  • Rural population health and delivery system reform
  • Rural hospital patient safety and quality improvement
  • Rural long term services and supports
  • Social determinants of health and illness

Alex Evenson, MA

mcel0093@umn.edu

Education

  • M.A., English, University of St. Thomas, 2005
  • B.A., English, Saint John’s University, 2000

Experience

Mr. Evenson manages communications, dissemination, and website resources; edits research publications; and works as an investigator for the Flex Monitoring Team. He has contributed to research projects focused on reducing healthcare-associated infections in Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) and measuring quality performance in CAHs. 

Prior to his employment with the Flex Monitoring Team, Mr. Evenson worked with on a number of national, federally-funded rural health projects, including the Rural Health Research Gateway and the Rural Health Information Hub. For six years prior to that, Mr. Evenson was a nonpartisan writer / editor at the Minnesota House of Representatives’ Chief Clerk’s Office. During his graduate studies, Evenson taught English courses at the University of North Dakota and University of St. Thomas and worked with the North Dakota Humanities Council to facilitate critical discussions of literature in rural communities across the state.

Research Interests

  • Rural health policy, particularly focused on CAHs
  • Healthcare quality measurement
  • Socioeconomic health disparities
  • Narrative medicine

Megan Lahr, MPH

lahrx074@umn.edu

Education

  • M.P.H., Public Health Administration and Policy, University of Minnesota, 2017
  • B.A., Sociology, Kenyon College, 2010

Experience

Prior to coming to the Rural Health Research Center, Ms. Lahr worked at the State Health Access Data Assistance Center (SHADAC) on a variety of projects related to access, cost, quality, and health outcomes. Ms. Lahr also spent several years working in federal policy for U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar. While working in the Senate in Washington, D.C. and Minneapolis, MN, she held several positions focusing on operations, policy development, health reform, and healthcare outreach and casework.

Research Interests

  • Health policy and systems
  • Access to care
  • Health equity