Michele Allen, MD, MS, and Jerica M. Berge, PhD, MPH, LMFT, CFLE, have been named co-directors of CTSI’s Community Engagement to Advance Research and Community Health (CEARCH) function and co-leads of the Community & Collaboration component of the University of Minnesota CTSA award.
In this role, they will lead efforts to provide infrastructure and support so University researchers and community representatives—including nonprofits, clinics, physicians, and advocates—can work together to address health issues in ways that are truly relevant to the community. They will build on past successes in this area while bringing new vision and direction that more fully embraces a health equity framework.
Drs. Allen and Berge succeed Mickey Eder, PhD, who has shifted away from these leadership roles to focus on a discrete set of CTSI community-engaged research initiatives funded through CTSA administrative supplements.
About Dr. Michele Allen
Dr. Allen is an Associate Professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, Director of the Program in Health Disparities Research, and Endowed Chair of Health Equity Research at the University of Minnesota Medical School. Her research focuses on community-based participatory approaches to developing and implementing health promotion, and tobacco and other substance use prevention interventions for adolescents of color and those from immigrant communities.
In addition, she brings experience as a clinician at the Community-University Health Care Center, a UMN-affiliated FQHC and CTSI partner. She also leads two training programs: One with the Masonic Cancer Center (MCC) on a National Cancer Institute-funded R25 program for high school and undergraduate students to enhance the diversity of the cancer research workforce, and another with MCC and School of Public Health faculty on a NCI-funded T32 focused on cancer disparities.
About Dr. Jerica Berge
Dr. Berge is a Professor and the Vice Chair for Research in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health at the University of Minnesota Medical School. She is both a researcher and licensed behavioral medicine clinician focused on integrated care and community-based partnerships to address social determinants of health within the family context. Her NIH research agenda focuses on conducting both childhood obesity prevention and treatment studies within primary care settings with the ultimate goal of decreasing childhood obesity disparities in low-income and minority households.
Dr. Berge’s leadership as the director of both the Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women’s Health (BIRCWH) K12 training program and the Center for Women in Medicine and Science (CWIMS) will allow for building further collaborations in the work of CEARCH.