Community Health Connections Grant

A doctor speaks to a patient while seated outdoors

Identify community needs and generate opportunities to improve community health with support from our grant program.


Intended to help identify community needs and generate ideas, build partnerships, and create opportunities to promote community-driven, collaborative efforts to improve community health. The aim of this award is to build or sustain relationships between a community and the University or across communities on community-driven topics.

Who can apply

  • Minnesota-based community organizations, such as non-profits, local public health, community clinics, neighborhood associations, tribal governments..
  • University of Minnesota researchers partnering with community organizations, or seeking community partners (Assistant, Associate or Full Professor, Post-Doctoral Associate/Fellow, or a PhD Research Associate from any campus)

We can help identify potential project partners, and funds can be used to support initial meetings with them.

Other eligibility criteria

  • Funding is not designed to support delivery of ongoing program services.
  • A university and/or community partner can only be principal investigator (PI) on one CEARCH application at a time or one awarded during a given grant period.
  • Prospective applicants cannot apply for more than one CEARCH grant at once for the same research activities on a given project. Instead, CEARCH welcomes applicants to apply for multiple grants sequentially to build upon a research agenda or project. 
  • Funding cannot be used to directly support graduate student thesis research per se, although graduate students are often major participants in projects receiving support.

Activities supported

Grantee Tetyana Shippee speaks with participants seated at a table during a community forum on healthy aging

Funds support activities related to planning for community-directed research or examining health issues and goals of interest to the community. For example:

  • Presentations and discussions about health research on topics of interest to the community.
  • Developing research or evaluation agendas for community health.
  • Fostering relationships between community and University researchers.

Funds may not be used to support ongoing service or program delivery.

Example projects

Past projects have included:

  • Community meetings and engagement to determine priorities for a health impact assessment.
  • Collecting and sharing environmental health data in a community newspaper.
  • Gathering community input on housing needs for families experiencing domestic violence.

Process and expectations

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You can apply at any time. 

Applications are reviewed and awarded on a quarterly basis. To ensure your application is considered at the next quarterly review, apply by 11:59 pm on:

  • Spring quarter: Thursday, April 29, 2021
  • Summer quarter: Thursday, Jul 29, 2021
  • Fall quarter: Thursday, Oct 28, 2021
  • Winter quarter: Thursday, Jan 27, 2022

Review and notification process

Proposals will be reviewed by a committee of the Community Engagement to Advance Research and Community Health (CEARCH) Management Council, a group of more than 20 stakeholders from the U of M, healthcare systems, and local community organizations. 

Preference will be given to proposals demonstrating meaningful community involvement in planning. It is anticipated that one application will be funded each quarter.

Applicants will be notified of funding decisions within 45 days of the quarterly submission deadlines.


Award recipients are expected to submit a project report upon completing their projects describing:

  • Project activities
  • Outcomes
  • Feedback from participants
  • Next steps

A final report form will be sent to project leads at the end of the project's funding period. 

The CEARCH Management Council will use this information to determine and report on how well these awards help to meet community identified needs and foster University engagement with communities.


Spring 2020
Yue Wu, MM, Music Therapist, MacPhail Center for Music

Project title: Co-design Tele-music Therapy Services with Stakeholders and University Researchers

Winter 2019
Lori Endsley, Center for Orphan Drug Research, University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy

Project title: Rare Disease Day Patient Advocacy Group Breakfast & Networking Session

Community Partner: Chloe's Fight Rare Disease Foundation

Joseph Gaugler, Minnesota Brain Aging Research Consortium (M-BARC), University of Minnesota School of Public Health

Project title: Dementia Healthcare Advisory Board

Community Partner: Minnesota Brain Aging Research Consortium

Fall 2018
Tetyana Shippee, Division of Health Policy and Management, University of Minnesota

Project title: Identifying and addressing racial disparities in long-term care

Community Partner: Sabathani Community Center; NE Seniors for Better Living; Merrick Community Services Senior Group; Minnesota Leadership Council on Aging

Summer 2018
James Verhoye, Minesota Department of Corrections (MCF-Shakopee)

Project title: Increasing the literacy of women incarcerated at the Minnesota Correctional Facility-Shakopee (MCF-Shakopee) through a targeted and collaborative educational approach

Community Partner: Minnesota Department of Health

UMN Partner: Rebecca Schlafer, Department of Pediatrics

Spring 2018
Cynthia Fashaw, National Alliance on Mental Illness Minnesota (NAMI MN) Multicultural Young Adult
Board (MYAB)

Project title: Destigmatizing mental health in cultural communities: Providing information and education to support mental wellness and increase help-seeking and accessing of mental health services

Purpose: To identify community needs and generate ideas and opportunities to promote collaborative efforts to improve community health

Community Partner: Comunidades Latinas Unidas en Servico (CLUES)

UMN Partners: Asian Student Union (ASU), Asian American Organizing Project (AAOP)

Requesting a University of Minnesota partner from the School of Public Health

Sara Wahl, Southwest Crisis Center (SWCC)

Project title: Assessing the housing needs of individuals and families in southwest Minnesota experiencing domestic and sexual violence and involving stakeholders in directed conversations and listening sessions related to housing needs and potential areas of collaboration

Community Partners: Southwest Minnesota Housing Partnership, Continuum of Care

Requesting a University of Minnesota partner to collaborate on research methodologies and evaluation

Winter 2018
Patricia Ohmans, Frogtown Green/Health Advocates 

Project title: Analysis and community-based dissemination of Frogtown area environmental health data

Partners: Frogtown District Planning Council, Greening Frogtown, neighborhood newspaper, St. Paul Parks Department, NeighborWorks Home Partners, and Hmongtown Marketplace

With additional University of Minnesota resources from: Humphrey Center for Public Affairs, Fernando Burga, Assistant Professor, and Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA)

Kamala Puram, AshaUSA

Project title: AshaUSA Health Day: Promoting healthy behaviors in South Asian communities

Partners: Project SAHAT – Minnesota South Asian Health Assessment Tool Report, conducted jointly with CAREI, CURA, and SEWA-AIFW

With additional University of Minnesota resources from: Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement (CAREI), and Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA)

Fall 2017
Darius Gray, ReConnect Rondo organizing director
Melvin Giles, Kim Club, and Lilli Post Johnson

Project title: Rondo Land Bridge HIA

Partners: Saint Paul-Ramsey County Public Health, and Minnesota Department of Health

With additional University of Minnesota resources from: Humphrey Center for Public Affairs, Fernando Burga, Assistant Professor, and David Wilsey, Director, MDP Program

Fartun Weli, Isuroon executive director

Project title: Cervical cancer education and screening in the Somali community

Partners: Program in Health Disparities Research and Midwest Consortium for Drug Discovery and Development

With additional University of Minnesota resources from: Ever Mkonyi, graduate student, and the Medical School's Program in Health Disparities Research


[email protected]
612-625-CTSI (2874)