Greater MN Clinical Research Initiative

Greater MN Clinical Research Initiative image


Build on rural Minnesotans’ access to a wide range of human participant research trials by expanding sustained relationships with physicians, clinics, and hospitals in greater Minnesota and ensuring the resources are in place to support that work.

Initiative Information

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Initiative Information

Guiding Principles

  • Expand the number of mutual relationships with bidirectional input, working to generate equity and trust with host sites – recognizing their expertise and experience.
  • Allow healthcare sites and communities to define areas of need and priorities in research — identify UMN researchers and programs that fit with host sites' research interests.
  • Select research projects that offer equitable opportunity to be a part of research for all participants regardless of geographic location
  • Practice humility, cultural sensitivity, and respect for all involved —respect the host site and local community history, strengths, experience and knowledge
  • Be accountable by setting up regular evaluation of programming to reduce unintended consequences or negative outcomes.
  • Aim for sustainable research programming by using existing structures that are working – aim to strengthen and build capacity.

Goals of the initiative

  • Establish sustainable relationships between the UMN and hospitals, clinics, and physicians in Greater MN and with rural MN communities, on an organizational rather than a PI by PI basis.
  • Establish supportive collaborations with MN programs and networks engaged in rural healthcare initiatives.
  • Support trials that minimize participant travel to the Twin Cities with most of the interactions with research participants occurring in their own home clinic, a nearby clinic or hospital, or virtually.
  • Create policies, procedures, and tools to support this work that are tailored to meet the health system’s and community’s needs.
  • Create informational documentation about the initiative and ensure that resources are available to UMN faculty to support multi-site trial development, including flexible technology solutions for healthcare sites and travel to greater Minnesota communities to support recruitment, participant visits, and relationship building.

What Are We Working on Now?

  • Establishing a Scientific Steering Committee to guide the initiative’s research area of focus and relationship building strategy.
  • Making connections with other groups, programs, and initiatives in the Greater MN healthcare, community, and research space to learn about their work and identify potential areas of collaboration.
  • Developing our strategy for operationalizing the initiative, including the research study intake process, initiative services and cost structure, and our communication plan with researchers, healthcare sites, and other potential collaborators.
  • Creating SOPs and other key documentation to support initiative operations and management.
  • Planning a pilot study to run through the initiative that longitudinally examines biomarkers of aging in people aged 50-79 living in Greater MN.

Selection Criteria for Studies

All studies will be reviewed against the following criteria:

  • The researcher has obtained funding to support the study operations/implementation expenses, including the cost of study management at partnering host sites.
  • If the researcher is submitting a proposal to the initiative prior to grant submission, the grant application will include a request for funds to support the study operations/implementation expenses, including the cost of study management at partnering host sites.
  • The researcher is able to comply with department specific resource review requirements, which may include seeking preliminary resource review as part of a grant partnership within the initiative
  • The research under study falls within an area of interest or need by one or more host sites and associated local communities
  • The researcher has shown interest or made partnership connections with one or more host site clinicians. Note that this can be through project design and/or grant inception discussions, percolator events, or through conversation with the Research Office.
  • The study offers equitable opportunities for eligible participants within the existing clinical population of the host site(s).
  • There is staffing capacity to take on the study, or there is an opportunity to hire.
  • The proposed study will not negatively impact enrollment for active studies recruiting the same clinical and geographic population.
  • There is not another departmental resource or existing infrastructure that may be a better fit to take on the project (e.g., another clinical trial network with expertise in the research area).
  • There are no aspects of the study that could pose a general barrier for implementation at greater MN healthcare sites. Note that sites will undergo a detailed feasibility and selection process once the study has been selected for inclusion into the initiative.


  • Services and Cost Structure
    Coming soon

Frequently Asked Questions

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Frequently Asked Questions

What type of studies are a good fit for the initiative?

The initiative can support a wide variety of research trials, from observational studies to interventional clinical trials, including drug/device and behavioral interventions. Studies are chosen based on the research interests of clinical and community partners around Greater MN. Some examples of research topics include aging research, mental health, addiction, oncology, diabetes, obesity, Lyme’s disease, although proposals for other research topics are welcome.


Which sites in Greater MN has the initiative been in communication with?

The initiative team has had conversations with the following healthcare sites and organizations:

  • CentraCare Health System (St. Cloud and Willmar, MN)
  • Essentia Institute of Rural Health & St. Mary’s Medical Center (Duluth, MN)
  • Fairview Range Medical Center (Hibbing, MN)
  • Grand Itasca Clinic & Hospital (Grand Rapids, MN)
  • Whiteside Clinical Research Institute & St. Luke’s Hospital (Duluth, MN)

We are also interested in making connections with additional healthcare sites, so if you represent or collaborate with an organization that is not on this list, please feel free to reach out to us to start a conversation.

I am a researcher in Greater MN who is not affiliated with UMN. Can I bring my research idea to the initiative?

Yes! This research initiative is designed to create partnerships with researchers across Greater MN. We would be happy to initiate a partnership discussion and meet with you to discuss your research plans and interests.


What services do the Greater MN Clinical Research Initiative offer?

The Greater MN Clinical Research Initiative is intended to support initiation and conduct of research at participating greater MN institutions by providing project management oversight throughout the life cycle of a project. This oversight includes activities such as supporting partnership initiation, facilitating research implementation discussions, providing guidance on multisite study management and supporting ongoing communication with partner sites. We will review each project with the investigator to determine the appropriate level of support based on the needs of the research study. 


Can I work with my departmental research personnel on a study that I bring to the initiative?

Yes. Researchers should utilize their existing departmental research support structures when feasible, and we will collaborate with your team to advance your project. Please contact us if you have any questions about study resourcing.


I need support in developing and running a multisite clinical trial protocol. Can the initiative help with this?

Yes! Greater MN Clinical Research Initiative team members have experience in managing multicenter research trials and have developed processes and documentation for efficient communication and oversight of clinical trial sites.


Contact Us

Interested in partnering with us?


  • Dr. Shailey Prasad, Associate Vice President for Global and Rural Health, OACA
  • Dr. Diane Treat-Jacobson, Associate Dean for Research, School of Nursing

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