The 'U' is for You Grant

An overhead view of the University of Minnesota Twin Cities East Bank campus, seen from the Washington Avenue Bridge

Improve community health through a grant designed to give local organizations, groups, and individuals access to researchers, faculty, and staff at the University of Minnesota.



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.

Process and expectations

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Goals of the program

  1. Bring together diverse representatives from both the community and University to support bidirectional communication and learning.
  2. Develop health-related topics of interest to the community.
  3. Examine one or more areas of translational research from planning a proposal and partnership development to reporting results of completed research and strategies for applying results and sustaining gains in health outcomes.
  4. Lay the groundwork for subsequent research collaborations.

Preparing your application

  • Before developing your proposal, we encourage you to contact us at [email protected] or 612-625-CTSI (2874) to learn if similar efforts to address the same or related topic are already underway. 
  • We can match community organizations with University faculty members with shared interest and expertise.
  • Up to $5,000 may be requested for projects up to 12 months. 


You can apply at any time. 

Applications are reviewed and awarded on a quarterly basis. To ensure yours is considered at the next quarterly review, submit your application 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 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. It is anticipated that one application will be funded each quarter.

  • Preference will be given to proposals demonstrating meaningful community involvement in planning. 
  • We anticipate funding one application 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 awards help to meet community identified needs and foster University engagement with communities.


Winter 2021
Christy Boraas, MD, MPH, Assistant Professor, Medical School
  • Project: Assessing needs and exploring multi-generational beliefs, values, and barriers related to reproductive and sexual health among African immigrant communities
  • Partners: Olusewa Obadiya, Asha Hassan, MPH, Alison Ojanen-Goldsmith, MPH, Planned Parenthood North Central States
Helen Fu, PhD, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Medical School and Zachary Baker, PhD, Post-Doctoral Fellow, School of Public Health
  • Project: Men's Shed Connecting Men Together To Improve Health
  • Partner: Philip Johnson, Managing Director, US Men's Sheds Association
Rebekah Hudock, PhD, LP, Assistant Professor, Medical School
  • Project: Exploring how the autism mentorship program can better serve Somali youth with ASD
  • Partner: Emily Goldberg, Autism Mentorship Program Founder
Summer 2020
Abigail Gadea, MSW, MPP, LISW, Prevention Research Center
  • Project: Assessing parenting needs and well-being of Latinx families during COVID-19
  • Partner: Katia Lopez-Petrovich, MS, NCC, LMFT, Multicultural Psychotherapy and Consulting Service
Sarah Hoffman, PhD, MPH, MSN, RN, Assistant Professor, School of Nursing
  • Project: Developing the intergenerational healing circle intervention to address symptoms of community and intergenerational violence in North Minneapolis
  • Partner: Yolonde Adams-Lee, MA, LISW, Lighten Your Load Counseling
Spring 2020
Caroline George, MD, Associate Professor, Masonic Children's Hospital
  • Project: Characterizing the Declination of Prophylactic Vitamin K for Newborns in Minnesota
  • Partners: Children’s Minnesota

Angie Mejia, PhD, Assistant Professor, Civic Engagement Scholar, Center For Learning Innovation, University of Minnesota - Rochester

  • Project: The Village Community Garden and Learning Center
Fall 2019
Katie Querna, Division of General Pediatrics and Adolescent Health (DOGPAH), University of Minnesota Twin Cities
  • Project: Restorative Justice approaches to reduce violence and promote gender equity 
  • Purpose: To determine the feasibility and develop practice recommendations for using and evaluating restorative justice approaches to gender-based violence in the Twin Cities.
  • Partners: Michele Braley, Seward Longfellow Restorative Justice; Barbara McMorris, University of Minnesota (DOGPAH); Kara Beckman, University of Minnesota (DOGPAH)
Laura Palombi, College of Pharmacy, UMN Duluth
  • Project: A Needs Assessment for Rural Northeastern Minnesota: Identifying Community Strengths and Opportunities for Substance Use Prevention, Intervention, and Recovery 
  • Purpose: To determine how a community can best support individuals in recovery from a substance use disorder in order to inform the work of recovery organizations, health care systems, treatment facilities, and public health in northeastern Minnesota. 
  • Partners: Beth Elstad, Recovery Alliance Duluth; Keri Hager, University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy - Duluth; Emily Becher, University of Minnesota Extension; Robyn Tomaszsewski, AmeriCorps VISTA (Iowa Campus Compact)
Summer 2019
Amira Adawe, The BeautyWell Project
  • Project: Immigrant Salon Project
  • Purpose: To gain an initial understanding of health and safety knowledge among employees of immigrant salons in the Twin Cities, through focus group and key informant interviews.
  • Partners: Susan Arnold, Assistant Professor at University of Minnesota School of Public Health
Spring 2019
Patricia Ohmans, Frogtown Green
  • Project: Reducing Food Waste in Frogtown
  • Project summary: A food waste reduction outreach and education project in Frogtown, a low-income neighborhood in St Paul. 
  • Purpose: To raise awareness of both the environmental and financial cost of food waste, and to offer residents ways to greatly reduce such waste. 
  • Partners: Collaboration with Jackie Billhymer, MPH, RD - Regional Coordinator, Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) - University of Minnesota and other members of EFNEP staff. Technical consultation with staff from the University of Minnesota’ Center for Family Development.  University of Minnesota MPH student Audrey Seligman is the project coordinator.
Winter 2019
Anthony Stately, Native American Community Clinic
  • Project: Native American Community Clinic Research Meeting (Disparities in health outcomes related to chronic pain management and the use of opioids)
  • Purpose: To co-develop research proposals that balance creating new knowledge with building capacity within NACC and its community partners to improve patient health outcomes, and to serve as a resource for other communities by sharing information about our research and programmatic activities
  • Partners: Erin Krebs, Minneapolis VA; Gavin Bart, Hennepin County Healthcare; Paulette Baukol, Mayo Clinic/Hennepin County Spirit of the Eagles Program; Bonnie Duran, University of Washington; Milton Eder, University of Minnesota
Spring 2018
Robert Clarence Jones, Hue-MAN Partnership Project
  • Project: Opioid use in the community: Utilizing MyStrengths+MyHealth (MSMH) app to help communities self-describe whole-person health including problems and strengths
  • Purpose: To foster community/university research engagement and mutual learning
  • Partners: Karen Monsen and Robin Austin, University of Minnesota, School of Nursing
Winter 2018
Brenna Greenfield, PhD, University of Minnesota Medical School Duluth
  • Project title: "Pop-Up” Research with Native American women who used opioids during pregnancy
  • Purpose: To pilot “pop-up research”, a new method of community engagement in research, in the context of listening sessions with Native American women in Northeastern Minnesota who used opioids during pregnancy.
  • Partners: Rebekah Dunlap, BSN, in a northeast Minnesota city
Fall 2017
Motohiro Nakajima, PhD, University of Minnesota Medical School Duluth campus
  • Project title: Stress and coping in East African communities
  • Purpose: To create opportunities for East African immigrants to share their stressors and develop social connections in a supportive, informal environment, and to identify strategies to foster resilience in this community.
  • Partners: Mustafa al’Absi, PhD, Oromo Community of Minnesota, and the Brian Coyle Center


[email protected]
612-625-CTSI (2874)