Affiliated Projects and Programs

These are long-term, fully staffed projects and programs at UROC that have been initiated and are led by Extension or other University departments. Some of these projects receive staff support from the UROC team.

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African American Leadership Forum

Researching disparities in education, economic development, health and wellness, and family, culture, and spirituality between the African American community and other sectors of the Twin Cities is the focus of the African American Leadership Forum.

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Bridges and Connectors: Networking for Anti-racist Navigation in Education

This project intends to develop an infrastructure as a compass to counter systemic racism. This study draws on the supportive connections between communities to enhance network collaborations to mobilize anti-racist agendas and sustain/retain current and future teachers of color.

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Building Trust and Reducing the Burden of Stroke in African American Communities

The aim of Building Trust and Reducing the Burden of Stroke in African American Communities is to build trust with African American communities in Minneapolis and educating with regards to stroke warnings signs and risk factors.

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Collaborative for Resilient Kids and Families in Minnesota

The Collaborative for Resilient Kids and Families in Minnesota project delivers delivering community-based psychoeducation and web-based training to educators and other providers. Researchers work closely with schools and community-partners to organize community and school-based activities.

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Community Affairs Leadership Council

A loyal and hard-working group helps UROC by identifying ways to use UROC-related research and developing partnerships to address education, health and wellness, community, and economic development issues that are raised by the community.

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Community-Scale Energy Storage Demonstration Pilot Program

The Community-Scale Energy Storage Demonstration researchers looks at how  community groups and small businesses can employ energy storage to save money and contribute to Minnesota’s clean energy transition.

Contact [email protected] to learn more

Creativity Camp study

University Medical School Research in Adolescent Depression Lab researchers are focused on adolescent mental health to  advance understanding of the biology of mood disorders (e.g. depression and bipolar disorder) in adolescents, and to test how new investigational treatments may work to restore health in young people.

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Effect of Breaking Up Sedentary Behavior on Vascular Function Among Older Adults with Type 2 Diabetes

University of Minnesota researchers are in the process of developing the grant application that would request funding for this work, as well as identifying and developing the partnerships needed to ensure this work is relevant and representative of the needs of older adults with diabetes.

Contact [email protected] to learn more

Evaluation studies graduate internship partnership

University of Minnesota Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development faculty provide appropriate graduate student evaluators to work with UROC and other organizations to provide evaluation support.

Contact [email protected] to learn more

Improving Communication About Racism for Equity (ICARE)

The goal of ICARE is to create a communication intervention for primary care providers to safely, competently, and authentically discuss racism with their patients.

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Integrative Health and Wellbeing Research Program

The broad long-term objective of this team’s work is to achieve health equity related to complementary and integrative health research by engaging community stakeholders, organizations, and individuals throughout the research process. By building community relationships and working closely with our community advisory team, its work strives to better understand community experiences and the social context of health and wellbeing, involve the community at all stages of the research process, and effectively disseminate its findings for community use and benefit.

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Is Fast Food Here Because We Want It, Or Do We Want it Because It’s Here? The Challenge the legacy of fast food outlets in North Minneapolis

University of Minnesota Humphrey School researchers investigate the relationship, legacy, and impact of fast food outlets on North Minneapolis.

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Leaders Invested in Fostering Trust Project (LIFT)

The goal of LIFT is to improve information systems and fight misinformation about Black communities by improving the relationships among our most trusted messengers, and building relationships with journalists and Black leadership networks. The project identifies needs and key trusted messengers in Black MSP communities through a survey of Black residents. It also correlates narratives and needs from trusted messengers in Black MSP communities through interviews and symposium.

Contact [email protected] to learn more

Master Gardener Program - Fostering Diversity and Inclusion

The mission of the University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Program is to use research-based horticultural knowledge and practices to deliver educational outreach and project-based efforts that inspire change and promote healthy people, healthy communities and a healthy planet. Our current efforts are driven towards making the Master Gardener Program more diverse and inclusive, and more of a representation of the communities we exist to serve.

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Minnesota Youth Sex Trading Project—MYST

The Minnesota Youth Sex Trading (MYST) project uses actionable research to identify prevention opportunities, guide systems change, and promote wellness among youth. The project is a collaborative of faculty, staff, and students at the University of Minnesota working in partnership with non-profits, government entities, and people with lived experience.

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Modeling Effective Network Disruptions of Recruitment in Sex Trafficking Operation— MEND-R

Modeling Effective Network Disruptions of Recruitment in Sex Trafficking Operation seeks to develop an accurate and detailed picture of how trafficking operations recruit potential victims, so researchers can identify and test the effectiveness of potential ways of blocking recruitment. The research will "test" these using math models developed by a transdisciplinary team of qualitative researchers, operations researchers, and a survivor-centered advisory group. It is a partnership across four institutions.

Contact [email protected] to learn more

Modeling Effective Network Disruptions of Sex Trafficking—MEND

Modeling Effective Network Disruptions of Sex Trafficking seeks to develop an accurate and detailed picture of trafficking operations and how they are structured, so researcher can identify and test the effectiveness of potential ways of disrupting them to prevent trafficking before it starts. The research will "test" these using math models developed by a transdisciplinary team of qualitative researchers, operations researchers, and a survivor-centered advisory group.

Contact [email protected] to learn more

Mother, May I Swim?

This study explores the swimming experiences of African-American mothers because they are often powerful influencers who can impact the attitudes, values, and beliefs of the next generation. The purpose of this study was to construct a theoretical framework that supports the development of swim-efficacy for African-American women. The results from this study will aid in implementing culturally relevant and engaging swim programs for predominately African-American communities.

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Neighborhood Park Use Sports Program Fee Waiver and Intensive Family Outreach to Promote Physical Activity in Low-Income Children Ages 6-12 Years

The grant is funding the development of these two interventions. Park partners are supporting and enabling the implementation of the programs in 24 neighborhood parks that serve families and youth with low income and who are diverse in race and ethnic identities. Research staff will partner with park staff to implement these interventions in the youth sports programs in the 24 parks.

Contact [email protected] to learn more

Northside Houses of Worship Preservation Project

This project contributes to capturing and disseminating the Jewish and African American history of the Northside by preserving three monumental religious buildings used by these groups. Our goal is to get the buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Contact [email protected] to learn more

Office for Business and Community Economic Development

The University of Minnesota’s Office for Business & Community Economic Development  is a social enterprise with the  purpose of leveraging the assets and resources of the University to create programs and services that provide innovative solutions to socioeconomic problems that impact communities.

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Operationalizing and Measuring Structural Racism in Minnesota: Building a Multidimensional Measure of Structural Racism (MMSR)

The overarching goal of the Operationalizing and Measuring Structural Racism project is to develop community-informed quantifiable measures of structural racism that can be used in both the analyses of health outcomes and to direct policy recommendations in communities across Minnesota. The Center for Antiracism Research for Health Equity will include community voice and feedback on what structural racism means to urban communities in the Twin Cities.

Contact [email protected] or [email protected] to learn more

Power of Story

The Black Storytellers Alliance presents Signifying & Testifying Storytelling events, school concerts, and storytelling workshops.

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Ready Steady

Ready-Steady is a research study designed to assess different strategies that might help people who are 70 years or older to include more physical activity in their everyday lives. Participants in our study meet once a week for eight weeks in groups of 4-6 people, and participate in balance, strength, and walking exercises combined with different wellness information and/or motivation strategies. Participants also meet with a researcher four times throughout a year for an interview and assessment of their balance, strength, and physical activity. Participants are compensated, and are also given a Fitbit to track their physical activity throughout the study- which is theirs to keep even after their completion of the study. Results of our study will help to determine which strategies to include in future physical activity courses.

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Smart Community Health

A community-based research study to evaluate different motivational strategies---to help people integrate balance-challenging, leg strengthening and endurance physical activity into their everyday lives.

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Supplier Diversity Program

Smart Community Health is Social Determinants of Health (SdoH) point of care platform. Smart Community Health addresses SDoH needs (i.e., housing, poverty, food insecurity), through an innovative, collaborative data-sharing platform that connects community resources to community needs. The platform has multiple interfaces that allow patients, providers, and CBOs to coordinate care for social care referrals.

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Supporting Dementia Caregivers After Death

Coordinated by the University of Minnesota’s Center for Healthy Again and Innovation, these projects are designed to ensure that all former dementia caregivers have the technological tools and psychosocial resources to ensure that their needs are met.

Contact [email protected] to learn more

Technology Empowerment Center

Learn more about the Office for Business and Community Economic Development’s restructuring at

UMN Earth Science - Community Summit

A summit between the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences and Twin Cities environmental community organizations was held in mid-November to build awareness, understanding, and capacity for community-centered research and engagement.

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UM Extension Financial Capability Programming

Finding, keeping and maintaining housing is often a challenge. Financial situations throughout one’s lifetime is often connected. University of Minnesota Extension helps Minnesotans explore and understand how to secure stable housing, manage the safety and efficiency of homes, and better plan for their financial future.

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Understanding Health Risk and Health Behaviors Among African American Adults

This project is to understand how internalized racism leads to poor health among African Americans, and to develop interventions that mitigate these health risks.

Contact [email protected] to learn more

Voices of the Future

The impact of poverty is intricately tied to traumatic experiences of institutionalized racism. Our project addresses economic disparities with a focus on African American families in the Northside community, and provides training to help improve their financial wellbeing. The goal of this project is to improve Individual, Family, and Community Financial Wellbeing by addressing historical trauma experienced by African Americans and explore how that trauma hinders financial decision making via three specific aims: (1) Minimize shame and stigma associated with personal debt; (2) Provide program participants with resources necessary to achieve financial capability; (3) Develop capacity (sustainability) within the community to continue this program beyond the life of the grant.

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The WAGE$ study looks at how the increase in the local minimum wage affects the health and wellness of Minneapolis minimum-wage workers over five years. Evaluating this "upstream" policy is critical in moving forward the conversation about wages and health, especially as it relates to health equity. This natural experiment involves two cities: Minneapolis, Minnesota and Raleigh, North Carolina (comparison site) and is funded by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

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