Enhancing Individual and Community Capacity for a Changing World

Art of healing: Embodied storytelling as resistance and practice

$110k GC Exploratory Research Grant; includes $50k international enhancement award

Co-PIs: Abimbola Asojo, Housing & Apparel Design; Ananya Chatterjea, Theater Arts & Dance; Jigna Desai, Gender, Women, & Sexuality Studies; Roli Dwivedi, Community-University Health Care Center; Priscilla Gibson, Social Work; Lena Palacios, Gender, Women, & Sexuality Studies; Madhuri Shors, Community-University Health Care Center; Catherine Squires, Communication Studies

The project is a multifaceted investigation and mapping of the conditions that make it possible for women and girls of color to stand up in resistance to structural violence, and the kind of healing that becomes possible in such situations. It will also archive the narrative and embodied responses of girls and women across multiple media so that (a) we can inquire into how such research might shape the disciplines in which we work, and (b) we can build on this project in collaboration with other communities and organizations. Art of Healing brings together perspectives from Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies; Psychiatry and Family Medicine; Dance; Communication Studies; Interior Design; and Social Work to produce an embodied, social justice agenda for research—focused on how healing and resistance is fostered and sustained by women and girls from global and U.S. communities of color.

Climate, conflict, and displacement: Shifting patterns in the Horn of Africa arid lands 

$96k GC Exploratory Research Grant; includes $46k international enhancement award

Co-PIs: Cheryl Robertson, Population Health & Systems, School of Nursing; Dominic Travis, Ecosystem Health Initiative

Team Members: Eunice Areba, Nursing; Joel Hartter, Environmental Studies Program, University of Colorado-Boulder; Sarah Hoffman, Nursing; Katey Pelican, Veterinary Population Medicine; Michael Mahero, Veterinary Population Medicine; Shamilah Namusisi, One Health Resident, Makerere University; Carolyn Porta, Nursing, Epidemiology; Paul M. Porter, Agronomy & Plant Genetics; Innocent B. Rwego, Veterinary Population Medicine; Jacinta Mukulu Waila, One Health Resident, Makerere University

The research team will develop a 10-year prospective cohort study of climate, conflict, and displacement in two neighboring regions in the Horn of Africa Arid Lands. We will leverage preliminary findings, strong local partnerships, and our multidisciplinary team to develop a sustainable research program that can ultimately improve the health and resilience of climate-displaced communities. Analyses of ethnographic pilot data from Turkana County, Kenya suggest a complex story of drought, violence, livelihood loss, migration, decentralization, emerging extractive industries, population pressures, ethnic and refugee tensions, hunger, opportunity, and of course, resilience. We will collect similar data from the neighboring Karamoja Region in Uganda. The Karamojong share similar livelihoods, conflicts, and climate challenges as their Turkana neighbors, although Ugandan national structures and land policies differ. These data from both regions, one on each side of the Kenyan-Ugandan border, will help inform the strategies to develop a large prospective cohort study and identify further funding mechanisms.

Cracking the speech code: A cross-linguistic neurobehavioral approach to language learning in typical and atypical populations

$51k GC Exploratory Research Grant; includes $4k international enhancement award

Co-PIs: Yang Zhang, Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences; Jed T. Elison, Child Development; Hui Zou, Statistics; Xiaohu Yang, Laboratory for Language & Cognition; Iku Nemoto, Biomedical Engineering; Hua Shu, National Key Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience & Learning; Suiping Wang, Psychology

Team Members: Jean Decety, Child NeruoSuite and the Social Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory, University of Chicago; Mark DeRuiter, Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences; Kaibao Hu, Foreign Languages, Shanghai Jiao tong Univeristy; Patricia Kuhl, Speech & Hearing Sciences, University of Washington; Michael Reiff, Pediatrics; Robert S, Schlauch, Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences

The project builds on international collaboration with matched funds to addresses language learning in typical and atypical populations (children with autism, dyslexia, and cochlear implants, who all have problems with speech perception). Three typologically representative languages, English (non-tonal language), Mandarin Chinese (tonal language), and Japanese (pitch accent language) are covered. Aim #1 is to apply sophisticated signal processing and statistical modelling in identifying biomarkers of speech and voice recognition deficits. Aim #2 is to investigate speech and voice processing in realistic and complex environments and how the brain mechanisms are shaped by learning experience and pathological conditions. Aim #3 is to develop tools that can deliver adaptive and customizable training methods that can optimize speech learning and social communication across ages and disorders. Our strategic plan will involve multi-year efforts in fundamental research and training, including the establishment of a scholarly exchange program and joint graduate program in speech-language-hearing sciences.

Reducing early language disparities: A key to lifelong academic, socioeconomic, and health success

$60k GC Exploratory Research Grant

Co-PIs: Lizbeth H. Finestack, Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences; Scott McConnell, Educational Psychology & Child Psychology 

The long-term aim of the project is to support the community’s goal to close educational achievement gaps and health disparities across ethnicities and socioeconomic groups. The project is grounded in an already-funded two-year project, LENA Start Implementation and Evaluation, focused on implementing a parent education intervention to promote child language development, skills critical to human development. We now expand the scope, investigators, and community connections related to the LENA Start project. We aim to build and sustain an interdisciplinary collaborative team that will (a) use its collective knowledge to implement state-of-the-art procedures for assessing language development at scale; (b) develop new procedures to extend assessments and treatment procedures to new language groups; and (c) deepen analyses of data to identify factors affecting outcomes to create more effective interventions. Our team will have a clear and strong focus on early development of children at risk in ways that set the foundation for lifelong learning and social well-being.

Reminders for readiness: E-communication to support parents in promoting early childhood development 

$250k GC Interdisciplinary Work Group Collaboration

Co-PIs: Akosua O. Addo, Music; Megan Gunnar, Institute of Child Development; Richard Lee, Psychology; Sheila Riggs, Primary Dental Care; Olihe Okoro, Pharmacy Practice & Pharmaceutical Sciences; Aaron Sojourner, Work & Organizations

Team Members: Amy Gross, Pediatrics; Katy Kozhimannil, Health Policy & Management; Amy Susman-Stillman, Center for Early Education & Child Development; Susan Walker, Family Social Science

With Reminder for Readiness (R4R), we address the challenge of racial and ethnic gaps in accessing critical information about young children’s health and development by developing, piloting, and studying a culturally relevant, acceptable text messaging system for parents of infants and toddlers. In partnership with community-based organizations in Minneapolis serving the Somali community, we will develop culturally appropriate, desired messages; form the infrastructure for effective parent recruitment; and analyze the implementation of the partnerships, text messaging system and initial impact of the messages. We hypothesize that infants and toddlers of parents receiving the text messages will have improved well-child visits, immunizations, screening, and service venue use. Embedding messages about appropriate service use in a more general stream of useful, culturally responsive content will help generate high levels of engagement in child development, and partnerships between the University of Minnesota and communities and stakeholders will improve the effectiveness of the platform and the messaging.

Shared leadership lab: Analyzing success factors to address complex societal challenges

$300k GC Interdisciplinary Work Group Collaboration; includes $50k international enhancement award

Co-PIs: Akosua O. Addo, Music; Vanessa Laird, Leadership & Management; Hari Osofsky, Joint Degree Program in Law, Science, & Technology; Kathy Quick, Leadership & Management; Myles Shaver, Strategic Management & Entrepreneurship

Team Members: John Finnegan, Epidemiology & Community Health; David MacCallum, Civic Consulting Minnesota; Guillermo Narváez, Leadership & Management; Jennifer Pelletier, Minnesota Department of Health; Shiela Riggs, Primary Dental Care; Art Rolnick, Social Problems & Policy Analysis

The Shared Leadership Lab will conduct and stimulate research into the success factors of effective, cross-cutting collaboration to address grand challenges. The stakeholders, organizational forms, and funding mechanisms necessary to create, implement and sustain solutions to significant societal issues differ depending on the challenge. They may involve, for example, inter-governmental or public-private collaborations or social enterprise organizations. Understanding different forms of shared leadership and their success or limitations in different contexts is critical to building community capacity. As important, this research will help guide scholarship—indicating how and where to engage most effectively to maximize impact. Building on emerging scholarship that examines specific shared leadership applications, the Lab will focus on new research, including Grand Challenges research, involving University of Minnesota researchers. Using common survey and interview methodologies, it will provide a unique site for developing comparative analysis and actionable guidance regarding shared leadership and its success factors.