Community Health Connections Grant

A doctor speaks to a patient while seated outdoors

Identify community needs and improve community health and health equity with support from our grant program.

Improve community health and health equity

Funding helps generate ideas about community health priorities and create opportunities to promote community-driven, collaborative efforts to improve community health and health equity.

Build relationships

The grant aims to build or sustain relationships between a community and the University of Minnesota or across communities on community-driven topics.

Activities supported

Process and expectations

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You can apply at any time. 

Applications are reviewed and awarded on a quarterly basis, and applicants will be notified of funding decisions within 45 days of the quarterly submission deadlines.

Applicants for each quarterly review must be submitted by 11:59pm on:

  • Summer: July 29, 2021
  • Fall: October 28, 2021
  • Winter: January 27, 2022
  • Spring: April 28, 2022

Eligibility criteria

Eligibility and Partnership:

  • Minnesota-based community organizations (e.g., non-profits, local public health, community clinics, neighborhood associations, tribal governments) and, 
  • University researchers (Assistant, Associate or Full Professor, Post-Doctoral Associate/Fellow, or a PhD Research Associate from any campus) 

CEARCH can help identify and match any potential project partners. CEARCH supports and encourages funds to be used to support initial meetings with potential partners.

Other eligibility criteria:

  • Funding is not designed to support delivery of ongoing program services, or to purchase equipment.
  • A university and/or community partner can only be principal investigator (PI) on one CEARCH application at a time or one CEARCH awarded grant 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 their research agenda or project. 
  • Funding cannot be used to directly support graduate student thesis research, although graduate students are often major participants in projects receiving support.

Review and notification process

Proposals will be reviewed by a committee of our 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 and focused on health equity. 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 final report on:

  • 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.

Award recipients are highly encouraged to present their projects at either the CTSI Poster Sessions and Power of Partnerships events during or after their grant period.

Our 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)