Exploring Public Health Collaboration in the North Atlantic

The Samstarf Initiative enhanced public health and healthcare capacity in the areas of workforce training, international health, health services research, and academic course development. Public health graduate students from Maine engaged in public health research and fieldwork with Icelandic preceptors and Icelandic public health students completing health services research work in Maine. Dr. Tupper successfully piloted e-Learning opportunities for Icelandic public health students; Maine graduate students gained cultural competencies from their shared learning experiences. Multiple activities supported the growing business, cultural, and academic relationships between Icelandic universities, government agencies, and industry and the State of Maine. The Samstarf initiative increased international cooperation and development with academic, business, and governmental organizations. The Samarbeid Initiative expands the success of the Icelandic partnerships with new relationships with the University of Trumso, Norway and Robert Gordon University, Scotland.


The project aims to be at the intersection of community, students, and research in public health. Areas for growth include expanding the program into Norway, building the potential for collaboration with entrepreneurs in Iceland as research partners, developing expertise in Environmental Health at USM, and broadening workforce development through distance training.


University of Iceland

Reykjavik University

University of Akureyri

University of Tromso

Robert Gordon University

Various business and governmental partners in Iceland, Norway, and Scotland

Judy Tupper

Cutler Institute


Dr. Tupper's past and current research portfolio includes projects on patient safety, rural healthcare, medication management, patient education, healthcare provider education, health literacy, quality improvement, e-learning, healthcare and public health workforce training, and chronic illness and disability. As a member of the MPH faculty at the Muskie School, she coordinates the Certificate of Graduate Study in Healthcare Quality and Safety, and teaches courses in patient safety, quality improvement, and health literacy. Judy also serves as Field Placement Coordinator for the MPH program. She leads the annual Patient Safety Academy at USM, now entering its 8th year.