Katherine Ahrens, PhD, MPH

Maine Rural Health Research Center

Phone: 207.780.4847
Email: katherine.ahrens@maine.edu

University of Southern Maine
PO Box 9300
34 Bedford Street
Portland, ME 04104-9300

Current Projects - (1)

  • Rural Health Access: Affordability and Barriers to Care
    Rural-urban comparisons of healthcare access and affordability predate many policy reform efforts aimed at increasing access and decreasing costs—ongoing concerns of rural families. This study will use national health survey data to examine rural-urban differences in access to medical care, access to insurance, and affordability of care.
    Research center: Maine Rural Health Research Center
    Topics: Health disparities and health equity, Health reform, Health services, Healthcare access, Healthcare financing, Private health insurance, Public health, Social determinants of health

Completed Projects - (1)

  • A Current Examination of HIV and Hepatitis C in Rural Counties
    Using data from federal and state sources, we produced a chartbook on county-level data on human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) prevalence and acute hepatitis C virus (HCV) incidence, examined the availability of Ryan White HIV/AIDS medical providers and other HIV and HCV treatment/testing services across the rural-urban continuum, and estimated county-level prevalence of maternal HCV infection.
    Research center: Maine Rural Health Research Center
    Topics: Maternal health, Mental and behavioral health, Substance use and treatment

Publications - (3)



  • Rural-Urban Residence and Mortality Among Three Cohorts of U.S. Adults
    Policy Brief
    Maine Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 05/2020
    Rural residents have a shorter life expectancy than urban residents. We analyzed national linked survey and death certificate data and found risk of death was 10% higher for rural than urban residents and has increased over time. Findings suggest the overall mortality penalty in rural areas may be partly driven by social determinants of health.