Diversity As A Value

Message from the VP

We live in a difficult and divisive time. I believe that here, in a University environment, we have the opportunity and the responsibility to preserve civility and to model what Vaclav Havel (my Czech roots) described as "politics as practical morality, as service to truth, as essentially human and humanly measured care for our fellow humans."

What if diversity, rather than being a buzzword, was a value that we lived every day? How would we do that and what would that look like? I am issuing a challenge, to myself and to all of you, that:

  • We embrace the University's mission to serve every Minnesotan in rural, suburban, urban, and Indian Country settings with sensitivity, compassion, and respect.
  • We accept and respect others as they are, and act without bias based on their physical, ethnic, or national identity, gender, age, profession, or sexual orientation.
  • We take responsibility not only for our own behavior, but for identifying and calling out disrespect, sexual misconduct, unprofessionalism, ethical or financial improprieties, and other behaviors that cause harm and make this environment unsafe.
  • We commit to listening to others' ideas and perspectives with empathy, even when we do not personally agree with them.
  • We actively foster inclusion and do not use differences to stratify or separate artificial power structures.

For all the strengths and beauty of University life—freedom to discover and innovate, ability to contribute to the health and wellbeing of others, honor of educating future generations—there are also prejudices, hierarchies and siloes that have been built into the system. Even with the best of intentions, it is possible to perpetuate old and unhelpful ways of thinking.

To quote another politician, a Minnesotan this time, Paul Wellstone put it well when he said: "We all do better when we all do better."

Jakub Tolar, MD, PhD
Vice President for Clinical Affair

01 FRD Grants Support Interdisciplinary Research

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The Office of Academic Clinical Affairs is soliciting applications for Faculty Research Development (FRD) grants that will support new or expanding interdisciplinary research that addresses significant clinical issues, is innovative, and has a high potential for return on investment. Note that clinical issues are broad and can range from strengthening clinical practice through the development of new tools and approaches, to responding to community health concerns and societal factors directly influencing public health and well-being. Applications can encompass a continuum from laboratory research to community outreach/engagement. Up to six grants will be awarded through a competitive peer review process.

02 Are You Preparing Your First K or R Series NIH Grant Proposal?

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The NIH Proposal Preparation Program (P3) is a program for early-career, assistant professor faculty members in the Medical School and health sciences colleges/schools, preparing their first K or R series NIH grant proposal. Each session requires participants to prepare drafts of their proposal sections and critique each other's written material. Applications are currently being accepted for Winter Cycle 2020 and are due by Monday, Dec. 2, 2019. Winter Cycle 2020 begins Jan. 8, 2020.

03 Streamline Your Research Study Setup

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CTSI’s Study Budget Tool allows investigators and study teams working in Fairview and M Physicians facilities to propose various study scenarios in order to estimate their potential cost. Investigators and study teams who plan to use the Fairview or M Physician facilities are able to access the tool using their x500 login credentials. The Study Budget Tool is one of several CTSI researcher resources created to streamline study design.

04 Need Help Conducting Research in Large, Complex Databases?

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The OptumLabs Research Collaborative is a unique intra-professional, academic/industry partnership that provides researchers access to linked health insurance, electronic health record and consumer behavior data for over 200 million patient records. Attend the Sept. 11 presentation and learn more about the Research Collaborative, current studies, and how faculty with or without an informatics background can use the OLDV to conduct research in large complex databases.

05 BOLD Idea: Tackling Adolescent Mental Illness through Art

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One of the six studies recently funded with a BOLD Ideas grant brings together research colleagues from psychiatry and behavioral sciences, neurology, the Weisman Art Museum, and the Center for Learning Innovation at the University of Minnesota Rochester, as well as a social practice artist and poet, to tackle the intersection of art, sleep and brain functioning in adolescents. The group hypothesizes that the healing effect of creative arts engagement and healthy sleep practices can be measured through clinical assessments and neuroimaging, and that development of creative skills is an effective and accessible way to address mental health access disparities.

06 Supporting Faculty to Create Student Opportunities at Global Health Research Sites

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The Center for Global Health and Social Responsibility’s Faculty Mentor Award encourages U of M researchers to involve students in their global health research projects at international sites. Created as a way to give students a guided global health research experience, this mentorship program provides up to $5,000 for faculty to defray costs associated with incorporating a student researcher into their team. This year, CGHSR awarded three inaugural Faculty Mentor Awards to support student involvement in faculty-led global health research initiatives in Malaysia, China, and Kenya. Congratulations to the mentors–Irina Stepanov, Kumi Smith, Chas Salmen–and student trainees.


Aug. 23 - Goldy vs. Cancer Day at the MN State Fair
Sept. 11 - Consent for Genetic Testing: Challenges with the informed component
Sept. 16 - CTSI Poster Session
Sept. 17 - Social Public Health and Ghana's National Response to HIV
Sept. 18 - Tough Choices in Home-base Care
Sept. 23 - Institute for Engineering in Medicine Annual Conference
Sept. 25 - Ethical Issues in Public Health Crises


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