Trostel’s study on retirement savings is cited by AARP

Professor Philip Trostel’s recent work on the benefits of saving for retirement has been cited by the Nevada AARP, illustrating that Nevada could save taxpayers $24,048,204 over the next 15 years by helping people save more of their own money for retirement.
Read the article: New Study: Nevada Could Save Over $24 Million by Helping Workers Save for Retirement

Trostel’s work was also cited in a factsheet which outlines fiscal savings for all states by helping people increase their own retirement savings. Research shows that when individuals save for retirement they are less likely to rely on public assistance programs later in life. According to the AARP, more than 30 states are considering creating retirement plans for private-sector workers whose employers do not already offer one.
Find the AARP factsheet: Nevada Could Save $24 Million by Helping People Save for Their Own Retirement

Summer Interns Add Value to Municipal Governments

An article by Stephanie Bouchard in the April Maine Townsman highlights the important role summer interns can play in Maine municipal governments. Many municipal officials see internships as a way to educate and inform the next generation of workers as to the value of their work,  while making an investment in their town’s future. Student interns gain valuable professional experience and a window into a type of career that few students get to experience. The Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center administers the Maine Government Summer Internship Program, which places college students in summer government internships. Since 1967 these have been internships in state government, but over the past few years the program has expanded into municipal governments. This summer there will be five interns in the program who will be placed in municipal positions, out of 37 total. Each year as the program becomes better known it is able to offer a few more municipal internships.

Read the Maine Townsman article here: “Summer interns can fill important roles, now and into the future.”

Visit the internship section of our website for more information on the Maine Government Summer Internship Program.

Maine New Leadership Networking Reception & Dinner

On June 2, 2017, the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center will host the 9th annual Maine NEW Leadership Networking Reception & Dinner at the Wells Conference Center, University of Maine, Orono. Maine NEW Leadership is a 6-day, nonpartisan public leadership education program provided at no cost to 28 college students from a variety of backgrounds, ages, races, and majors from throughout Maine. Keynote speaker is Danielle M. Conway, Dean and Professor at the University of Maine School of Law.

The event is sponsored by Bangor Savings Bank with additional support from the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center.

****RSVP Required: Please contact Mary Cathcart or Susan D’Angelo at 207.581.1648 by May 19th for more information!****

Public Affairs Scholar Presents Her Research

Sierra Kuun,  2016-17 recipient of the Margaret Chase Smith Public Affairs Scholarship, presented her research on April 24th at the University of Maine Student Research Symposium. Kuun is a fourth-year chemical engineering major at UMaine. Her project was entitled A Study of Undergraduate Perception and Behavior Toward On-Campus Composting.  Kuun carried out her research through the Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions. Her research project has focused on reduction of household solid waste among students. She implemented a pilot program at UMaine to give students the opportunity to divert food scraps, and she then measured their responses to the program in behavior and attitude. She presented her poster at the undergraduate research symposium.

More information on the Public Affairs Scholarship Program is available under the Student Programs section of our website.

2017 Maine Policy Scholars Make Final Presentations

On Friday, April 28, the students in the Maine Policy Scholars program delivered their year-end research presentations. Over the academic year, seven undergraduates representing each of the seven campuses of the University of Maine System have conducted research on a topic of personal interest and policy relevance to Maine. The students choose their own policy topic and work throughout the year with a faculty advisor and community mentor to research the topic. All students and advisors meet several times during the year to collaborate on ideas and learn from each other. Each spring students present their work in the form of a policy memo to the governor or legislator and give an oral presentation to the group.

This year’s scholars were:
Emma-Marie Banks from University of Maine at Augusta,
Hannah Cole from University of Maine,
Shawn Cyr from University of Maine at Fort Kent,
Alyssa de Silva from University of Maine at Machias,
Julianne McLaughlin from University of Maine at Farmington,
Idella Thompson from University of Maine at Presque Isle, and
Elizabeth Wilson from University of Southern Maine.

The Maine Policy Scholars Program was conceived by the late Peter Cox as a means of engaging students in the University of Maine System in the public policy process. It is administered by the Maine Community Foundation and the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center and guided by the Honorable Libby Mitchell.

More information can be found at

Maine Policy Review author interviewed by Maine Public

Ron Deprez, author of “Population Health Improvement: It’s Up to the Community—Not the Healthcare System,” which appeared in the last issue of Maine Policy Review, discussed his research with Irwin Gratz of Maine Public. You can listen an excerpt of the interview here.

Deprez, president of the Public Health Research Institute (Deer Isle, Maine) and an associate research professor at the University of New England, also took part in a Maine Calling program on population health, along with Barbara Leonard, president and CEO of the Maine Health Access Foundation, and  Dr. Michael Duffy, primary care medical director for Mercy Hospital.

The full article, “Population Health Improvement: It’s Up to the Community—Not the Healthcare System,” is available on our Digital Commons site.


Marcella Sorg’s research on drug overdose deaths in Maine

Research conducted by Marcella Sorg, PhD, of the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center, for the Attorney General’s Office and the Office of Chief Medical Examiner shows that in 2016 there was a nearly 40% increase in deaths due to a drug overdose from 2015. The overwhelming majority of these deaths, 84%, were caused alone or in combination with an opioid. New maps from the Portland Press Herald illustrate the extent of all drug overdose deaths and opioid deaths by county in Maine in 2016. These maps result from the expanded Maine Drug Death Report for 2016, written by Marcella Sorg and just released by Maine Attorney General Janet Mills.

“The number of deaths caused by heroin and fentanyl is unprecedented,” said Attorney General Janet T. Mills. The summary shows how the numbers of drug deaths are expanding across the state. Only 5 counties had more than 10 deaths in 2015 and in 2016 that number increased to 10 counties. It also shows that traditional service center cities are bearing a heavy load. While Portland has 5% of the state’s total population, 11% of the overdose deaths were recorded there in 2016. Bangor is home to just 2% of the total population, but it recorded 9% of the 2016 overdose deaths.

The analysis shows that while deaths due to pharmaceutical opioids have been eclipsed by fentanyl and heroin, the number of deaths from prescription painkillers increased last year to 123 – the highest level since 2010. An analysis conducted by Dr. Sorg of the cases in 2015 in which a pharmaceutical opioid was implicated as a cause of death observed that only 7 percent had a prescription for that drug at the time of their death.

Download the full report: EXPANDED MAINE DRUG DEATH REPORT FOR 2016

Read the Portland Press Herald article

MCS Policy Center is hiring

The Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center at the University of Maine invites applications for a full-time Research Associate or Senior Research Associate. The Policy Center is a nonpartisan, independent research and public service unit of the University of Maine. Our research is interdisciplinary, cutting across departmental lines to bring together faculty, students, and external policy experts to address issues confronting Maine and the nation. The candidate should have a strong educational background (ideally a graduate degree) in economics or policy-related discipline and have experience conducting policy research.

Please see the full job description for details.

Applications received by May 15th will receive full consideration. Queries may be sent to

Marcella Sorg Will Receive 2017 Presidential Public Service Achievement Award

Research Professor Marcella Sorg will receive the 2017 Presidential Public Service Achievement Award for her contribution to the university. The award will be presented at the President’s Faculty Recognition Luncheon May 13.

Sorg is a research professor at the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center with joint appointments in the Department of Anthropology and the Climate Change Institute. Her research specializes in health policy, particularly as it concerns public health, public safety, and the investigation of death and injury.

In her current focus, Sorg leads the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center’s Rural Drug and Alcohol Research Program in informing regional and national efforts to control the opioid epidemic involving heroin and prescription pain medications. She also represents Maine on the National Drug Early Warning System of the National Institute of Drug Abuse.

Please see the UMaine News article for a full description: UMaine names 2017 Presidential Award winners

Barbara Leonard will be Distinguished Maine Policy Fellow, April 4

Barbara Leonard, President and CEO of Maine Health Access Foundation (MeHAF), will be the next Distinguished Maine Policy Fellow on Tuesday, April 4th. Leonard joined the MeHAF team in 2007 and has played a leadership role in philanthropic and public health program development, administration, management and evaluation at the state and national level.

Leonard has developed initiatives such as a comprehensive portfolio of grants focused on payment reform, the multi-year Integrated Care Initiative, and MeHAF’s work in oral health. She also spearheaded MeHAF’s efforts to develop ongoing data analysis and reporting to illuminate access barriers to health care, particularly for individuals who are uninsured or who face other systemic barriers to care.

During her day at UMaine Leonard will meet with students, faculty, and researchers on campus. A public reception will be held at the University Club in Fogler Library at 4:00PM. Her visit is sponsored by the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center and the College of Natural Sciences, Forestry and Agriculture.

Distinguished Maine Policy Fellows are prominent Maine individuals with past or current careers as policy makers in the state. The Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center brings these individuals to campus for a day to teach an undergraduate class, engage faculty about research and public policy, and meet with UMaine administration and graduate students. More information is available on the webpage of the Distinguished Maine Policy Fellows Program.