Additional Research Projects

Current Special Interest Projects (SIPs)

CDC SIP funding supports our further prevention research into gaps in the scientific evidence around specific adolescent health topics. During the 2019-2024 funding cycle, we worked on two SIPs:

  • The DiscoverU tiered mentoring program, a 2021-2023 partnership, aimed to improve the health of middle- and high-school students while providing college-age students with experiential learning opportunities. Our study found that while both adolescents and school staff enjoyed the program and found it highly acceptable, inconsistent attendance limited its reach. It did positively impact students’ reports of days being physically active and levels of peer cooperation and social connections. Co-PI: Katherine Arlinghaus, PhD, MS, RD, Assistant Professor, Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, School of Public Health, [email protected]. Co-PI: Barbara J. McMorris, PhD, Associate Professor, School of Nursing and Medical School, [email protected].
  • The Place of Last Drink (POLD) evaluation (2019-2022) project measured the effects of an initiative that sought to reduce over-service of alcohol by identifying patterns of alcohol use that could lead to improved law enforcement response and calls for service. This SIP measured POLD’s impact on alcohol-related traffic crash injuries/deaths and emergency medical services. It also assessed implementation of the POLD initiative and whether that implementation varies across communities. PI: Traci Toomey, PhD, MPH, Professor, Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, School of Public Health, [email protected]. 

COVID-19 Vaccine Confidence Projects

The CDC awarded supplemental funding to the University of Minnesota Prevention Research Center (UMN PRC) to help implement the CDC’s COVID-19 Vaccine Confidence Strategy as a member of the national Connecting Behavioral Science to COVID-19 Vaccine Demand (CBS-CVD) Network. 

Past Special Interest Projects (SIPs)


Confidential Adolescent Sexual Health Services (2017-2019)
Renee Sieving, PhD, RN, FAAN, SAHM - [email protected]
Professor, School of Nursing & Department of Pediatrics

Drs. Sieving, Mehus, and colleagues conducted a nationally representative survey of adolescents and their parents as well as in-depth interviews with primary care clinicians, adolescent patients and their parents across the state of Minnesota to examine aspects of healthcare delivery associated with provider-adolescent discussions about a range of sexual and reproductive health topics. 

Multi-Level Communication Strategies to Promote Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) Vaccination Update (2016-2019)
Joseph Koopmeiners, PhD - [email protected]
Professor and Division Head, Division of Biostatistics, School of Public Health

Impact of Local Staple Food Ordinance on Healthy Food Access: The STORE (2014-2019)
Melissa Laska, PhD, RD - [email protected]
Associate Professor, Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, School of Public Health

As a collaborating center of the Nutrition and Obesity Policy Research and Evaluation Network, Dr. Laska evaluated the impact of a local policy change (i.e., the Minneapolis Staple Food Ordinance) that established minimum stocking criteria for a wide array of health foods as a requirement of food store licensing. 

Youth Epilepsy and Successful Self-Management (2014-2019)
Peter Scal, MD, MPH - [email protected]
Assistant Professor, Division of General Pediatrics and Adolescent Health, Department of Pediatrics, Medical School

As a collaborating center of the Managing Epilepsy Well Network, Dr. Scal's research developed and tested a youth-focused, Internet-based, theoretically grounded self-management program for youth living with epilepsy.