clinical setting

Looking Inward

VP Jakub Tolar, MD, PhD

In OACA, we often use the phrase, re-imagine health. The term “re-imagine” is purposeful—our goal is to create a fundamental shift in how we think about health beyond treating illness. What does a healthy life look like? What can it look like? Coming back from the pandemic is an excellent time to give ourselves a fresh way of looking at these questions.

We have to be careful of just repeating questions from the past because how a research question is framed impacts everything from how the research is done to the eventual outcomes. Whether we realize it or not, how we ask research questions reflects our belief systems and assumptions.

When we ask research questions, we think carefully about not biasing or assuming outcomes in the way we phrase them. If you don’t already, it’s time to consider social and racial inequities as well. For example, rather than saying “What is wrong with people that XY is happening?” we can examine “What is wrong with our policies and social structures that create the environment for XY to happen?” It can be a subtle shift in thinking, but it is important to understand that we are all impacted by our histories and environments, and that those are not equal across the board.

We tend to focus on actions rather than on ways of thinking, but how we think is important because it informs our actions. To truly change the landscape and begin to unravel the threads of health inequities, we need to understand how the way we think can either make things better or keep them the same.

Across the health sciences, students, staff, faculty, and leadership are working to create more inclusive environments and advance diversity and equity. I invite you to share your work in this area.

Driving Innovation and Discovery

tecnology concept

Leveraging Technology to Improve Health

This July, Assistant Professor David Haynes of the Institute for Health Informatics will launch a pilot study offering a mobile app to patients at NorthPoint Health & Wellness Center. The app, called Smart Community Health, was developed by Haynes and a team of researchers to offer patients a comprehensive assessment in four categories: My Living, My Mind & Networks, My Body and My Self-Care. Based on that information, the app then connects people to community organizations providing the needed services and resources.


covid virus

Participate in the SeroNet COVID-19 Vaccine Response Study

The University is leading a research study that aims to better understand the immune system’s response to COVID-19 vaccines. The primary focus is to understand if immunocompromised people have different responses to the vaccine. Individuals who are planning to receive a COVID-19 vaccine or have already received one are needed.

colorful abstract

SciPride Celebrates the Scientific Contributions of the LGBTQIA+ Community

In honor of Pride Month, the Bell Museum celebrates the scientific contributions of the LGBTQIA+ community at the University, in partnership with our Office for Diversity & Inclusion and Department of Plant Pathology, the College of Science and Engineering Collegiate Life Office-Diversity and Inclusion, and Market Science in the College of Biological Sciences. Explore this series of flash talks from LGBTQIA+ researchers across STEM disciplines and career levels.


Advancing Interprofessional Education & Training

OACA interns

OACA Interprofessional Internship Highlight: M Health Fairview Team #2

Arazu Kian, BS, DNP ‘23, from the School of Nursing and Taylor Sinn, BS, MHA ‘22, from the School of Public Health, are analyzing data from M Health Fairview to determine the different professions that are represented in student learners and where they are currently working in the system. After identifying general patterns of overlap, they are looking for areas for growth and opportunities for more interprofessional experiences for students. They are also investigating ways to map the data for future projects.


Partnering With Communities

REACH Program cohort

Three Community Leaders from Rural Minnesota Selected as Inaugural Cohort for Project REACH

Ann Bussey, a retired health care leader who resides in Side Lake, Leah Lehtola, a community health leader from Montevideo, and Adam Pavek, PharmD, a pharmacist from northern Minnesota have been selected as the inaugural cohort for Project REACH (Rural Experts Advancing Community Health), a joint initiative of the Rural Health Program through OACA and the Clinical and Translational Science Institute. Project REACH is a year-long program that provides diverse community leaders in rural Minnesota with health policy and leadership training. Participants learn to frame health policy challenges and how to communicate effectively with state legislators and other policymakers.

U-Wide Events and Opportunities

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Mothers Leading Science Program

Mothers Leading Science is a year-long leadership development program for research-intensive female faculty in the health sciences who are raising school-age and/or young children. This group is designed to foster professional and personal growth, provide peer mentoring, integrate the dual roles of scientist and mother, and build a network of peers.


stones in a pile

Bakken Center Mindfulness Programs Information Session

Join the Bakken Center for Spirituality & Healing for a mindfulness webinar on Aug. 17. Participants will have an opportunity to practice a short mindfulness meditation, to share their experiences, and to ask questions. Examples will also be provided for practicing "everyday" mindfulness, at work and at home. The webinar will conclude with an overview of the Baken Center's mindfulness resources and programming.


YMCA Day Care and Preschool Program

New Child Care Option on Campus

The University has partnered with the YMCA to provide high quality care at the Early Childhood Learning Center, conveniently located at 326 16th Avenue SE on the East Bank, which offers full-day care for kids ages 6 weeks to 5 years. Through July 1, priority registration will be given to University of Minnesota faculty, staff, and students. There are still spaces available, so learn more, check out an open house, or request a tour today.

Other News

Block M in maroon and gold flowers
We are delighted to extend a heartfelt welcome to President Rebecca Cunningham.
abstract people lift puzzle pieces
Communities of practice brings together individuals with shared interests or passions.
Ben Cahill
Through Project REACH, Ben Cahill worked on increasing housing opportunities for individuals facing chronic health conditions in…