Brooke Cunningham

Assistant Professor


Brooke Cunningham, MD, PhD, is a general internist, a sociologist, an assistant professor in the University of Minnesota Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, and commissioner for the Minnesota Department of Health. Dr. Cunningham uses mixed methods to examine factors at both the provider and organizational levels that impede or facilitate efforts to address health equity, including how health care workers make sense of race and frame the causes of and solutions to racial disparities in health and health care.She teaches a course on race to first-year medical students and has been invited to speak to students and faculty from other medical schools about race and medicine.Dr. Cunningham practices internal medicine at the Community-University Health Care Clinic (CUHCC), a federally-qualified health clinic in Minneapolis that serves a diverse patient population, most of whom live in poverty.

Research Summary


Research Funding GrantsPrincipal Investigator
2016-18, U of M CTSI Pre-K Award
Purpose: Conduct a systematic review of interventions conducted with health care personnel to promote engagement with race, racism, or racial disparities in health and to develop a scale to measure providers’ psychological safety and perceptions of organizational culture in relation to racial health and health care disparities.

2015-17, U of M Office of the Vice President for Research
Title: "From 0 to 100: Building Strong Positive Organizational Climates for Health Equity"
Purpose: Use qualitative methods to identify the domains of health equity climate, by contrasting a local safety net health system—which has recently decided to elevate health equity—to health systems which are considered “best in class.”

2015-16, U of M Serendipity Grant
Title: "Come Step in It: Real Talk about Race"
Purpose: Use participatory action research to develop an intervention to promote effective dialogues about race in health care.

2015-20, NHLBI
Title: "The Impact of Residency Factors on Racial, Size, and LGBT Bias in Physician Trainees"
Purpose: This study is part of a program of research intended to evaluate and improve the degree to which physician training promotes physicians’ ability to provide equally high quality and patient-centered care to all patients regardless of their race or ethnicity, size, or sexual orientation.

2013-17, VA Health Services Research & Development
Title: "Motivating Providers to Reduce Disparities in Their Own Practice"
Purpose: Develop and test communication strategies to motivate VA providers to prevent racial health care disparities.


Research Interests
Racial disparities in health
Health equity



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717 Delaware Street SE, MMC 381
Minneapolis, MN 55414-2959