Kathleen Fairfield, MD, MPH, DrPH

Dr. Fairfield is a Physician Scientist and Associate Professor of Medicine, Public Health & Community Medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine. Dr. Fairfield joined Maine Medical Center in 2002. Dr. Fairfield’s research is at the intersection of health services research, improvement science and health care delivery, and population health and community engagement in vulnerable groups. Her active projects are highlighted below.


Dr. Fairfield is the lead investigator for the a community engaged research program in Maine funded by RADx-UP RePORT ⟩ RePORTER (nih.gov) Understanding Factors Influencing COVID-19 Testing in Immigrant, Low-income and Homeless Populations, and Testing Targeted Interventions. This is an NIH-funded ($2,300,000) project which was a supplement to the NNE CTR grant, with Dr. Cliff Rosen as the PI. This project focuses on COVID-19 testing among several vulnerable groups of Maine residents in Cumberland County, including immigrants, people who are unhoused, and people who are low-income and uninsured. This work is being carried out with 4 community partners: Preble Street, Greater Portland Health, the Portland Community Free Clinic, and ProsperityME. Learn more: radx-up.org

Team Members: Cliff Rosen, MD, PI; Elizabeth A. Jacobs, MD Project Co-lead; Gloria D. Sclar, MPH, Program Manager; David Ngandu, MBBS, Research Associate; Sumii Awale, Research Assistant; Grace Price, Preventive Medicine Fellow; Mike Kohut, PhD, Qualitative Researcher; Ann Marie Hess, Informatics; Donna Lawlor, Nurse Practitioner; Kinna Thakarar, DO, MPH, Infectious Disease consultant; Ellyn Touchette, Data Analyst; Eilish Carpenter, Tufts MPH student; Josh Goldstein, Tufts MPH Student

Past team members: Ambia Ahmed, Hina Hashmi, Swapnika Mallipedi, Nicole Hudak, Deanna Williams, Melissa Graham, Daisy Parker, Lizzy Vinton


Dr. Fairfield and her team have been collaborating with the Massachusetts General Hospital Health Decision Sciences Center on a multi-year project studying physician training and reminder systems to improve the quality of decision-making about whether to end colorectal cancer screening amongst people aged 76-85. This work has been funded by the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI). Future work will include best practice alerts and brief trainings to expand this work to primary care practices in the Greater Portland area.

Team Members: Neil Korsen, MD; Elizabeth Scharnetzki, PhD; and Hannah Martin

Immigrant Health Improvement Project

Dr. Fairfield and her colleague Dr. Ben Felix established a program of work to examine quality of care interventions and outcomes among new immigrants seen in the teaching clinics at Maine Medical Center. This program of work has established a high quality clinical database to examine care delivery, and to train medical residents in rigorous quality efforts.

Team Members:  Ben Felix, MD; Elizabeth Danielson; Elizabeth Mazzeo, DO; Kimberly Toomire, DO; Elizabeth Eisenhardt, MD; Evelyn Roach; Katlyn Breton, NP; Karen Thompson, RN; and Stephen DiGiovanni, MD

Health Services Research

Dr. Fairfield has diverse interests in health care delivery and health disparities. In addition to local electronic medical record data, SEER-Medicare data, and other ‘big data’ sources, she has used state-wide all-payer data to study disparities in cardiovascular services delivery, end of life care in congestive heart failure, and hepatitis C treatment. She has also collaborated with investigators at University of Vermont (Drs. Tim Plante and Valerie Harder) examining opioid overdoses in Vermont and Maine following legislation to restrict controlled substances prescribing.

Team Members: Colin Waters; Kinna Thakarar, DO, MPH; Anya Cutler; Mylan Cohen; Kimberly Murray, MPP; Rebecca Hutchinson, MD, MPH; Lee Lucas, RN, MS, PhD