MCD and the University of New Hampshire Launch Regional Collaborative to Advance Rural Health Excellence and Equity

Sept. 30, 2021

Graphic showing someone working with another person online.

A new online virtual learning program will soon offer support to health care providers in rural and underserved communities of New England and New York.

MCD received a five-year grant, with an investment of $475,000 per year, to help address the physical and mental health impacts of COVID-19 on the most vulnerable patients in these communities, in collaboration with the University of New Hampshire’s Institute for Health Policy and Practice (IHPP).

"This significant financial support and commitment from the diverse group of partners involved, will promote sharing of expertise and resources across the entire region to ensure the broadest reach and impact possible, with a focus on strengthening the health care workforce of both today and tomorrow,” said Danielle Louder, co-director of MCDPH and director of Northeast Telehealth Resource Center (NETRC).

The grant, provided by the Health Resources and Service Administration, will help launch an online open-access learning program for healthcare providers called the Collaborative for Advancing Rural Excellence and Equity, or CARE2. It will build partnerships between primary care providers, patients, facility residents and their families or care partners. The online program will build upon person-centered approaches to care by providing resources on best practices and developing tools to support planning and implementation.

The program will focus on the effects of COVID-19 and the isolation of older adults as well as the continued challenges for individuals with substance use disorder. The emphasis will be on the rural populations of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and New York that face substantial hurdles when trying to address mental health and well-being. The project will also review the lack of access to treatment for those requiring long-term care treatment in home and facilities.

“These remote areas face limited access to health care services and their challenges have only become worse during the pandemic, especially among older adults, where the rates of COVID-19 are the highest, and residents dealing with substance abuse disorder,” said Laura Davie, director of Long-Term Care and Aging at UNH’s IHPP. “There is an urgent need for solutions that are sustainable, especially in a region dealing with a shrinking health care workforce.”

Other regional partners collaborating on the program include the University of New England, the University of Vermont, the University of Maine, the Maine Medical Association and MaineHealth.

This release is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $2,372,508 with 100% funded by HRSA/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by HRSA/HHS, or the U.S. Government.

New England
New York
pandemic response
mental health
e-learning program
Project ECHO