Child Health Advocates

University and Children’s Minnesota Child Health Advocates gather to celebrate collaborative research

In December, CTSI hosted University of Minnesota and Children’s Minnesota child health advocates for a celebration of the efforts of the Child Health Collaborative and to learn about research projects and findings from three grantee teams.

The Child Health Dinner is an annual event organized by the Child Health Collaborative, which is a partnership between CTSI, the Department of Pediatrics, and Children’s Minnesota. A blended audience of University and Children’s Minnesota staff, faculty, and researchers contributing to children’s health heard talks, questions and answers about three projects.  The dinner also included a keynote on the history of segregation in the city of Minneapolis and its lasting effects on human health.

Past and current grantees in the Child Health Collaborative Grant program shared presentations on their research supported by the Collaborative. Awardee Jennifer Kyllo, MD, shared findings from her research with fellow grantee Muna Sunni, MBBCh, on Diabetes management and education in Somali families. Grantees Gretchen Cutler, PhD, MPH, and Caitlin Caspi, ScD, presented their work on Project FEED, which addresses food insecurity using electronic medical records in the Pediatric Emergency Department. Grantees Alicia Kunin-Batson, PhD, Rachel Hardeman, PhD, MPH, and Jerica Berge, PhD, MPH presented research on behalf of their team on the effects of racism and discrimination on children’s health and development; Michael Troy, PhD, David Van Riper, and Amanda Trofholz, MPH, were also part of this team and unable to attend. 

“We are so pleased to see the early outcomes of our 2017 and 2018 grantees’ research and the partnership between the University and Children’s Minnesota,” said Professor of Pediatrics and CTSI Child Health Champion Mark Schleiss, MD. “These early results are encouraging and we look forward to contributing in a concrete way to improve the health of Minnesota’s children.”

This year, the Child Health Collaborative Committee invited keynote speakers who are working parallel to children’s health advocates, and contribute to a holistic, informed approach to improving child health. The 2019 keynote presentation, Mapping Prejudice, was given by the project’s co-founder Kevin Ehrman-Solberg, a graduate student in the Department of Geography, Environment and Society at the University of Minnesota. 

The project utilizes mapping technology and expertise (Geographic Information Science, or GIS) and deep research on historical boundaries, housing laws, and real estate practices in the development of Minneapolis neighborhoods to show the efforts of segregationists to instill racial divides. The effects of this systemic segregation can be seen in present-day city structure and the health of Minneapolis families; segregated and low-income neighborhoods today see higher incidence of heart disease, higher mortality rates, and reduced access to healthy food. 

The 2020 Child Health Collaborative Grant Request for Applications (RFA) is open until January 17, 2020. In this RFA, the Child Health Collaborative Committee is focused on research related to Family Fragility and Disruption, and School-based Racial Segregation, and continues to welcome applicants from the University and Children’s Minnesota with a wide variety of research related to children’s health.