MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL (05/03/2023) — The University of Minnesota’s Youth Health and Housing Lab has received $100,000 from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Systems for Action program to develop and assess an integrated system of healthcare and public health programming for youth experiencing homelessness in Hennepin County, Minnesota. 

Their “Systems Alignment to Optimize Health Services for Youth Experiencing Homelessness” project will engage youth in partnership with an existing multi-sector consortium to develop and implement an integrated system of public health programming and health services for youth experiencing homelessness. 

It aims to identify potential opportunities for systems alignment, assess the feasibility of implementing and scaling the system, and describe the complex barriers to data systems alignment in the current systems.

Led by Janna Gewirtz O’Brien, MD, a professor at the U of M Medical School, the Youth Health and Housing Lab is dedicated to optimizing health and bolstering resilience among youth experiencing homelessness. The lab’s work is rooted in the belief that housing is an important part of health. The interdisciplinary team partners with youth, youth-serving agencies, governmental public health, healthcare institutions and Hennepin County.

“Our goal is to center youth voices in developing anti-oppressive strategies that dismantle the long-standing silos that exist between sectors. When systems work better together and center the voices and needs of youth, youth will reap the benefits,” said Dr. Gewirtz O'Brien.

The Youth Health and Housing Lab follows a positive youth development framework. It is committed to a strengths-based, trauma-informed approach that centers equity in every aspect of its work. 

Funding for this grant is provided by Systems for Action, a national initiative of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that aims to discover and apply new ways of aligning the delivery and financing systems that support a Culture of Health.


About the University of Minnesota Medical School
The University of Minnesota Medical School is at the forefront of learning and discovery, transforming medical care and educating the next generation of physicians. Our graduates and faculty produce high-impact biomedical research and advance the practice of medicine. We acknowledge that the U of M Medical School, both the Twin Cities campus and Duluth campus, is located on traditional, ancestral and contemporary lands of the Dakota and the Ojibwe, and scores of other Indigenous people, and we affirm our commitment to tribal communities and their sovereignty as we seek to improve and strengthen our relations with tribal nations. For more information about the U of M Medical School, please visit med.umn.edu

For media requests, please contact:
Ezra Xiong
Communications Specialist
University of Minnesota Medical School