Pilot Grants

Health Disparities Pilot Grants

The University of Minnesota Program in Health Disparities Research announces Pilot Grants in Health Disparities Research annually. These grants are designed to encourage community-initiated research and foster sustainable long-term collaboration between community-based organizations and academic researchers on research projects focused on reducing and eliminating health disparities. The Pilot Grant program is made possible with support from the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota; and the Office for Business & Community Economic Development Community Health Initiative (CHI), University of Minnesota. For the 2018 funding cycle, up to 3 grants will be awarded, with a maximum award amount of $25,000 per award. Projects are supported for a one-year period.

Funding Priorities

Projects must be conducted within a partnership between community-based organizations and academic researchers. Priority will be given to projects that:

  • have a strong community engagement component, evidenced by involving people from the race/ethnicity and/or socio-cultural communities being served in all aspects of the proposed research project, as well as increasing skills, connections, and growth opportunities for all partners;
  • have a high likelihood of leading to future funding by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) or other federal, state, or private funding agencies, as well as projects that demonstrate a clear contribution by both community and academic partner;
  • are grounded in the principles of community-based participatory research as described in the University of Minnesota’s Performance of Community-based Research: Guidance Statement (PDF) and take into account the elements and principles noted in the PHDR Gold Standard Checklist.

Based on the priorities indicated by our funding stakeholders, proposals should focus on one or all of the following areas:

  • Cancer-related health disparities in Minnesota. Cancer is a complex disease with many possible causes. All proposals addressing cancer risk factors need to be directly tied to cancer.
    • Examples of appropriate topics include, but are not limited to, lifestyle factors such as tobacco use, diet, and physical activity; environmental exposures to different types of chemicals and radiation; and, certain types of infections known to cause cancer (e.g., Hepatitis B and liver cancer, HPV and cervical cancer). 
  • Community Health Initiative (CHI) Research Grant: Supports the work that reduces or eliminates Health Disparities in North Minneapolis. Proposed research projects must address a public health issue that has been identified by a community or community-based nonprofit organization. 
  • Broader sharing of new knowledge generated from a research project (e.g., dissemination research) related to the two prior topics listed above. Dissemination research projects must have a rigorous evaluation component. Grant awardees previously funded by PHDR are encouraged to apply.
    • “Broader sharing” refers to disseminating research findings to a targeted audience(s). For example, a plan that focuses on individuals, groups, organizations, and/or decision makers to receive findings from a research study. New and creative ways of sharing information are highly encouraged.
    • “New knowledge” refers to all types of research-generated information or resources. For example, new products or materials from an intervention, findings from a survey, and focus group and interview results. 
    • “Generated from a research project” refers to A) research generated from a prior or existing community-academic partnership and B) includes all types of study designs.

  • All community-based, 501(c)(3) organizations with an interest in health disparities are eligible to apply.
  • Community-based organizations with or without an established working relationship with an academic researcher are welcome to submit a letter of intent.
    • Letters of Intent from organizations without an established working relationship with an academic researcher will be matched with a researcher with similar interests at the University of Minnesota by Program staff. Continued consideration will be based on suitable matches; if no appropriate match is made, the applicant will be duly informed.
    • After matches are made, each project will consist of a minimum of two co-principal investigators—including a member(s) from a community-based organization and an academic researcher(s). If the matched research teams agree to work together, they will be invited to submit a full research proposal. 

Key Dates 2018

February 2: Request for Letters of Intent released
February 12: Informational Session at UROC
March 2: Deadline for the mandatory Letter of Intent on a health disparities research topic from community-based organizations with an interest in health disparities.
March 7: Community-academic teams invited to submit a full application; matching process begins for community-based organizations without an academic partner.
March 19: Matching process for community-based organizations without an academic researcher completed, and invited to submit a full application.
March 21: Pre-application workshop, date TBA (highly recommended but not required)
May 7: Full research proposals due from research teams 
May 7– May 25: Grants reviewed by community and academic review committee
May 28–June 15: Grants reviewed by PHDR Advisory Board members
Mid-June: 2018 Grant awardees announced
July or Aug 2018: Post-award technical kick-off session
Aug 1 – Jul 31: Award Period


Previous Grantees



American Indian Response to Targeted Cancer Education and Outreach Materials 
Marco Yzer, University of Minnesota and Kris Rhodes, American Indian Cancer Foundation

The Dissemination of Faith – Based Messages to Encourage Somali Women to Participate in Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening
Rebekah Pratt, University of Minnesota and Imam Sharif Mohamed, Islamic Civic Society of America

Quality Life in MN: A Dissemination – Intervention Framework for Reducing Disparities in Cardiovascular Disease and Colorectal Cancer among African Americans
Charles R. Rogers, University of Minnesota and Anika Robbins, The Anika Foundation

Practice and Policy – Developing a Statewide Model of Doula Support for Incarcerated Women
Rebecca Shlafer, University of Minnesota and Erica Gerrity, Everyday Miracles



Evaluation of the Use and Prevalence of Dual Tobacco and Shisha Smoking Among Somali Women: A Community-based Participatory Research 
FartunWeli, Isuroon and Olamide Ojo-Fati, University of Minnesota, Department of Family Medicine

MN Quality Measurement Enhancement Project (QMEP)
David Satin, University of Minnesota, Department of Family Medicine and Michael Scandrett, MN Safety Net Coalition

B​uilding Participatory Dissemination Tools for a Latino Youth Smoking Prevention Study 
Michele Allen, University of Minnesota, Department of Family Medicine and Veronica Svetaz, Aqui Para Ti



Increasing Colorectal Cancer Screening in the Laotian Community: Understanding Barriers and Health Literacy
Sunny Chanthanouvong, Lao Assistance Center of Minnesota
Elizabeth Rogers, Department of Medicine, University of Minnesota

From the Heart…Mindful Total Wellness Intervention Model to Reduce Health Disparities in the African American Community 
Anika Robbins, The ANIKA Foundation 
Susan Everson-Rose, Department of Medicine, University of Minnesota

Estimating the Exposure of the Hmong Community to Perfluorochemicals from Their Food Baskets
Karen Clark, Women’s Environmental Institute
Matt Simcik, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota

Shisha Smoking Among East Africans in the Twin Cities: A Qualitative and Quantitative Investigation into an Emerging Health Crisis
Amano Dube, Brian Coyle Community Center
Janet Thomas, Department of Medicine, University of Minnesota 


Culturally Relevant Hunger Relief Services Toolkit
Caitlin Caspi, University of Minnesota Department of Family Medicine and Community Health 
Anita Berg, Emergency Foodshelf Network 

Doula Support for Pregnant Jailed Women
Rebecca Shlafer, University of Minnesota Department of Pediatrics
Erica Gerrity, Isis Rising

Increasing Knowledge About Hepatitis B in the Minnesota Lao Community
Ruby Nguyen, University of Minnesota School of Public Health
Sunny Chanthanouvong, Lao Assistance Center of Minnesota

Understanding Cigarette Smoking Patterns Within the Minnesota Somali Community Around Ramadan
Barrett P. Sewali, University of Minnesota Department of Family Medicine and Community Health 
Diana Dubois, WellShare International



Project HEAR (Health Education and Resources): Cancer Prevention for Black Women
Andre Crockett, Vision Church
Starr Sage, University of Minnesota-Rochester, Center for Learning Innovation

Development, Implementation, and Evaluation of Adolescent Peer-to-peer Health and Wellness Social Media Strategy for the North Minneapolis Program Youth Determined to Succeed
Melvin Anderson, Youth Determined to Succeed
Julia Joseph-Di Caprio, Department of Pediatrics


Addressing Smoking Cessation among Persons with Serious and Persistent Mental Illness
Sally Sales, Spectrum Community Mental Health
Kate Goldade, Department of Family Medicine and Community Health

Culturally Competent Cancer Screening: Utilizing Granular Demographic Data and Point Of Care Provider Educational Interventions to Improve Identification Of and Care for Foreign Born Hepatitis B Carriers
Patricia Walker, HealthPartners Research Foundation
Mohamed Hassan, Department of Medicine



Youth Determined to Succeed-University of Minnesota Partnership to Reduce Obesity Among Youth in North Minneapolis
Melvin Anderson, Youth Determined to Succeed
Toben Nelson, Department of Epidemiology and Community Health

Evaluation of Community Health Worker Cancer Screening Referrals in Different Settings
Jose Castellanos, Comunidades Latinas Unidas En Servicio
DeAnn Lazovich, Department of Epidemiology and Community Health

Barriers to Mental Health Care for the Somali Community in Minnesota
Sirad Osman, New Americans Community Services
Nancy Raymond, Department of Psychiatry

Development of a Teacher-Focused Substance Use Prevention and Resiliency Promotion Intervention for Latino Youth
Luis Ortega, Minnesota Minority Education Partnership
Michele Allen, Department of Family Medicine


A Community-University Partnership to Examine Family Violence in the African American Community of North Minneapolis
Cari Clark, Department of Medicine
Jeannette Raymond, Family and Children's Services 

Motivating Underserved Vietnamese Americans to Obtain Colorectal Cancer Screening: A Culturally Tailored Video-Based Intervention 
Mark Yeazel/ Hee Lee, Family Medicine and Community Health/ School of Social Work 
Marie Tran, Vietnamese Social Services of Minnesota

Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) in the Hmong Community: Tackling an Old Problem in a New Way 
Tai Mendenhall, Family Medicine and Community Health 
Thomas Yang, Association for the Advancement of Hmong Women in Minnesota

Improving Nutrition and Physical Activity Among Latino Youth 
Jamie Stang, Division of Epidemiology and Community Health 
Rosa de la Torre and Maria Navas, La Clinica 

Opening Pandora's Box: Somali Women, Sexuality, and HIV/ STD Prevention 
Bean Robinson, Family Medicine and Community Health 
Fatima Jama and Amira Ahmed, Midwest Community Development




Wise Kids Eat Well
Pam Cosby, Community Center of Excellence in Women's Health at NorthPoint Health & Wellness Center 
Nancy Raymond, Psychiatry

Using Photovoice to Document Perceived Routes of Pesticide Exposures and Health Concerns among Mothers from Minnesota's Red River Valley
Linda Kingery, Northwest Regional Partnership 
Patricia McGovern, School of Public Health, Division of Environmental Health Sciences

The Family Education and Diabetes Series (FEDS) Project: A Pilot Investigation
Sheila WhiteEagle, St. Paul Area Council of Churches; Dept of Indian Work
Tai J. Mendenhall, Family Medicine & Community Health

Translating Research to Action: Reducing Recreational Tobacco Use in the Urban American Indian Community
John Poupart, American Indian Policy Center 
Jean Forster, Epidemiology and Community Health



Motivational Interviewing to Reduce the Risk of Kidney Disease in African American Men
Clarence Jones, Q Health Connections
David Radosevich, Department of Surgery

Examining Social Factors Contributing to Disparate Rates of Retinopathy Among Latinos with Type II Diabetes in Minnesota
Rodolfo Gutierrez, Hispanic Advocacy and Community Empowerment through Research
Michele Allen, Department of Family Medicine, Medical School

Understanding Somali Refugees' Perceptions of Mental Health Care: A Focused Ethnography
Hassan Ugas, Center for Somali Family and Children's Service
Cheryl Robertson, School of Nursing

Stress-related Health Disparities Among African American: A Systemic Focus on Risk and Resiliency
Willie Winston, Minnesota Association of Black Psychologists
Sonya Brady, School of Public Health, Division of Epidemiology

Pharmacogenomic Investigations in the Hmong Community
Kathleen Culhane-Pera, West Side Community Health Services
Robert Straka, Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology, College of Pharmacy

Community Partnerships to Prepare for Pharmacogenomic Studies in the Hmong Community 
Kathleen Culhane-Pera, West Side Community Health Services 
Robert Straka, Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology, College of Pharmacy