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 30 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, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Northwest Area Foundation.

He was a Co-Principal Investigator for the Multi-Center National Evaluation of the Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility Program from 1999-2003 and currently serves as the Principal Investigator for the 2003-2018 Flex Program Monitoring Team.

He has served on numerous rural health and health services research and policy advisory committees for federal agencies and private foundations, including the Committee on the Future of Rural Health Care and the Access to Health Care Services Monitoring Committee of the Institute of Medicine; the Health Services Research Study Section of Agency for Health Care Research and Quality; and the National Advisory Committee for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Coming Home Program.

Research Interests

  • Development of rural quality and patient safety measures
  • Implementation of quality and patient safety initiatives in rural environments
  • The operation and financing of small rural hospitals
  • Evaluation of alternative rural health care delivery systems

Awards

  • Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Investigator Award in Health Policy Research, 2002
  • First recipient of the Distinguished Researcher Award from the National Rural Health Association, 1992

Andrew Coburn, PhD | Co-Principal Investigator

andyc@usm.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 founded the Maine Rural Health Research Center in 1992, where  he has conducted rural health services and policy research on a wide range of topics, including rural health insurance coverage and access to care, rural hospital patient safety, the Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility Program, and rural long term services and supports.  His rural research has been funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Office of Rural Health Policy, the Robert Wood John Foundations, 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) Panel on Rural Health.  

Research Interests

  •  Community engagement, health improvement and community benefit strategies among rural hospitals
  •  Rural patient safety
  •  The rural impact of health insurance coverage and financing and delivery system reform
  •  Rural long term services and support

Awards

Distinguished Researcher, National Rural Health Association, 2000

Mark Holmes, PhD | Co-Principal Investigator

gholmes@ad.unc.edu

Education

  • Ph.D. in Economics, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2000
  • B.S. in Mathematics/Economics, Michigan State University, 1995

Experience

Dr. Holmes is an Associate Professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health. Previously, he was Vice President of the North Carolina Institute of Medicine, where he gained experience in North Carolina health policy. He currently serves on the board of the North Carolina Health Insurance Risk Pool and is a member of advisory boards and committees to multiple programs in North Carolina. His state policy work led to his 2010 Health Care Hero “Rising Star” award from the Triangle Business Journal. He is a member of the Editorial Boards of the Journal of Rural Health and the North Carolina Medical Journal.

Research Interests

  • Hospital finance
  • Rural health
  • Rural health policy
  • Workforce
  • Patient-centered outcomes research

Awards

  • 40 Under 40 Business Leadership Award, Triangle Business Journal, 2012
  • Health Care Hero Award “Rising Star”, Triangle Business Journal, 2010
  • NIH Loan Repayment Program for Health Disparities Research, National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, 2007

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 25 years of experience in rural health research and policy analysis. She has been the project leader for numerous Rural Health Research Center 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
  • Critical Access Hospitals and the Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility Monitoring Program
  • Use of health information technology by rural providers
  • Access to care for rural Medicare beneficiaries and underserved populations
  • 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

 

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

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.  For the latter project, he is a key participant in the development and dissemination of indicators of financial performance and condition of Critical Access Hospitals using data from Medicare Cost Reports.  The ninth issue of the CAH Financial Indicators Report was produced in summer 2012 for 1,341 hospitals in 45 states.

Prior to receiving a PhD 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 20 years, he has served on over 100 boards and committees of hospitals and other healthcare organizations. He has written more than 70 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

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

Prior to his work with the Flex Monitoring Team, Mr. Evenson worked with the University of North Dakota Center for Rural Health as the Deputy PI for the Rural Health Research Gateway, an Information Specialist and Writer for the Rural Assistance Center, and a Writer/Editor for the Health Workforce News. His work experience also includes six years with the Minnesota House of Representatives’ Chief Clerk’s Office as a nonpartisan writer/editor.

During his graduate studies, Mr. Evenson taught English courses at the University of North Dakota and worked with the North Dakota Humanities Council to facilitate critical discussions of literature in rural communities across the state.  He has taught courses on narrative medicine.

Research Interests

  • Knowledge translation, communications, dissemination
  • Healthcare quality
  • Workforce recruitment & retention strategies
  • Narrative medicine

 

Tami Swenson, PhD

tswenson@umn.edu

Education

  • Ph.D., Health Services Research, Policy, and Administration, University of Minnesota, 2016

Experience

Dr. Swenson has broad experience working with complex survey designs, large administrative datasets, and medical claims data.

Research Interests

  • Medicare
  • Medicaid
  • Safety Net Programs
  • Physician Quality Measurement
  • Chronic Pain