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female researcherSupported and funded by the Center and the UR Clinical & Translational Science Institute, the Mini-Grants are one-time grants up to $2,000.

The next grant cycle will be in spring 2025. Up to two applicants will be selected during the application period. The funding period is July 1, 2024 through May 31, 2025. Applicants can apply to one community project each year per partnership.

Request for Applications

This is a competitive grant program with review by representatives from URMC and community partner organizations. For more than 15 years, these grants have provided URMC-Community Partnerships with additional funding to address concerns such as transportation, childcare, meeting space rental and refreshments, and more.

For more information, please contact Laura Sugarwala, director of Community Health Partnerships, at

September recipients: 

  • Elizabeth M. Cox, MD, physician with University Health Service and assistant professor in the Departments of Medicine and Pediatrics in the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry (URSMD), Jodi Cook, East High School teacher and lead teacher of the Biomedical and Health Sciences Pathway, Theresa Green, PhD, MBA, associate professor of Public Health Sciences at the URSMD

​"Continued Support of Lunch and Learn Programming at East High School, and Support HOSA After-School Club"

The overall goals of this project is to support two initiatives at East High School, including the Lunch and Learn program and HOSA after-school club. Both provide students interested in pursuing health care careers with hands-on experiences and invaluable mentoring by current health care professionals.

The Lunch and Learn program, which began in the fall of 2022, allows scholars in the Medical Laboratory and Health Sciences Pathway at East High School to learn from community members, including members of the University of Rochester community, about health careers. This Lunch and Learn program had a very successful first year, with more than 20 participants.

HOSA is a global, student-run organization that exclusively serves secondary and post-secondary/collegiate students in pursuit of a career in the health professions. The Club was established at East High in 2021. Last year, five East High School students participated in a state conference in Syracuse, NY. Each student participated in a competition – which ranged from CPR/ basic life support skills, to career exploration and a supporting presentation to a panel of judges. This experience allowed students to practice and prepare a skill or set of skills, with support from University of Rochester medical students, over several weeks leading up to the conference.

  • Amanda Lai, arts and communications specialist at the University of Rochester Medical Center's (URMC) Department of Psychiatry, URMC's Department of Psychiatry's Strong Recovery Services and Bridge Art Gallery and Creative Wellness Opportunities

"Promoting Mental Health and Substance Use Recovery Through Art"

​The goal of this project is to create a visual art workshop series and community art gallery at the URMC Strong Recovery clinic, located at 2613 West Henrietta Rd. Through this grant, the waiting area will be transformed into a new art space, bringing “hope and healing throughout the waiting room area and enhancing the physical environment by integrating it with artwork that is beautiful, calm, and positive.”

Funding will go towards the purchase and installation of frames at the clinic, which will rotate artwork annually. The grant will also fund art supplies for art workshops as well as a gallery reception aimed at introducing community members to addressing the stigma associated with substance use disorders.

July recipients: 

  • Celia McIntosh, DNP, RN, president of the Rochester Black Nurses Association; Andrew Porter, BSN, associate director of Nursing at Monroe Community Hospital; Natalie Leblanc, PhD, MPH, RN, BSN, assistant professor at the University of Rochester School of Nursing

"Strengthening a Mentorship Program for an Entry Level Pre-Licensure Nursing and Allied Health Staff at a Community Hospital"

The overall goals of this two prong-partnership (University of Rochester School of Nursing - Rochester Black Nurses Association and Rochester Black Nurses Association - Monroe Community Hospital) includes the standardization of a nurse-led mentorship program between the University of Rochester School of Nursing and Rochester Black Nurses Association and other health organizations (i.e. MCH). It is anticipated that Rochester Black Nurses Association members will strengthen their research-related (monitoring and evaluation skills) capacity. Such skills will specifically assist Rochester Black Nurses Association members to standardize program development for sustainability, as well as skills in community engagement research, and the ability to educate communities about research and health.

  • Jahaira Capellan, PhD, MS, RN, postdoctoral fellow, National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences TL1, University of Rochester Clinical & Translational Science Institute, School of Nursing; Ibero-American Action League, Inc.

"Puerto Rican Parent-child Feeding Interactions: Relationship to Child’s Dietary Intake"

The objective of the project is to build upon a study assessing parent-child feeding interactions in Spanish-Speaking Puerto Rican parent-child dyads and how these interactions are related to the weight status of their 2-5-year-old children. The project will provide the opportunity to collect children’s dietary data via the gold standard of 24-hour dietary recalls. The data will be used to assess the diet and nutrient intake of Puerto Rican children and evaluate its relationship with child’s body weight and parent’s level of acculturation, parenting style, and feeding styles and practices. The knowledge gained from this project will provide a starting point for the creation and evaluation of culturally relevant interventions, if needed, to reduce and/or limit unhealthy dietary intake and subsequent obesity and health conditions in Puerto Rican children.

January recipients: Meredith Kells, assistant professor, University of Rochester School of Nursing; Maggie Quinn, transformational life coach, Western New York Comprehensive Care Center for Eating Disorders (WNYCCCED); Trista Redding, social worker, WNYCCCED; Mary Tantillo, professor of clinical nursing, University of Rochester School of Nursing, director, WNYCCCED, founder, The Healing Connection. 

"The PREP (People in Recovery Eating Preparation) Program: Supporting Individuals in Recovery from an Eating Disorder in Success through Hands-On Meal Preparation"

Services such as the program provided by this grant could add an additional key step in the path to recovery for many, and may prevent future relapse that would cause psychologic suffering and further medical care. The objectives of this program are to: 1) Identify individual barriers to meal preparation and mealtime that are impacting individuals in recovery from an eating disorder, 2) In collaboration with the individual in recovery, develop an actionable plan to address these barriers (e.g. obtaining tools needed for meal preparation at home, identifying affordable food options or charitable food donation centers, anxiety reduction techniques at mealtimes), 3) Enhance skills in meal planning and preparation through supporting participants in hands-on activities of (a) identifying a recipe they’d like to make (b) grocery shopping for said recipe (c) preparing recipe in a shared kitchen space and 4) Empower individuals in recovery from an eating disorder through the knowledge that they are able to engage in the meal preparation process through completion of the hands-on activities.

Brain Health GroupMay recipients: Katie Webster, NP, University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) Department of Neurology; Charles White, URMC Community Liaison; Christine Annis, URMC NeuroNEXT Site Coordinator; Phyllis Jackson, RN, director of the Interdenominational Health Ministry Coalition (IHMC); Florence Clemmons, senior Community Engagement manager at Foodlink; Camille Verbofsky, MPH, director of Community Health Programs at Foodlink

"Community-Based Brain Health Workshop Program"

The long-term project goal is to create a sustainable, longitudinal partnership between community organizations (IHMC and Foodlink) and URMC Neurology empowering marginalized communities to pursue their cognitive health goals. Objectives include 1) empower participants to promote cognitive health for themselves, their families, and their community through personal action and peer-to-peer education, 2) provide education on nutrition, exercise, and stress management, 3) utilize small group discussion to support participants to self-identify behaviors that enhance or impair their desired cognitive outcomes and 4) gain understanding of strengths and barriers among community members with regard to their cognitive health to carry forward into future initiatives.

coach shaneNovember recipient: Shane Fuentes, MD candidate, University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry, Crossovers & Conversations Program Director

"Crossovers & Conversations"

The objective of this project is to use basketball as a platform to facilitate open and honest health and wellness discussions with young people at community centers in the City of Rochester in order to increase health literacy. Learn more about Crossovers & Conversations in this feature story shared by WROC News 8. 




August recipients: Jessica Meyer, MD candidate, University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry; Miriam McQuade, MD, resident in the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology; Julie Ritzler-Shelling, Trillium Health Syringe Exchange Program  

"A Community-Academic Partnership to Evaluate the Sexual and Reproductive Health Practices and Needs of Women Who Inject Drugs (WWID)" 

This study utilized a mix-methods approach to assess the sexual and reproductive health practices and needs of WWID in order to address the gaps in the literature and inform future services to be offered at a syringe exchange program (SEP) in Rochester, NY. The long-term goals of this project and partnership were to create a sustainable and mutually beneficial partnership between Trillium Health and URMC, with particular attention to addressing the health disparities of female identifying clients of the SEP, increasing knowledge of harm reduction in medical professionals and trainees, and eliminating institutional silos.

Gretchen RomanJune recipient: Gretchen Roman, PT, DPT, PhD, TL1 Population Health Research Postdoctoral Fellow in the UR CTSI: University of Rochester Clinical & Translational Science Institute

"The Occupational Health of an Essential Worker Population During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Sign Language Interpreters"

The goals of this work were to 1) evaluate the physical and mental health of sign language interpreters working remotely from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, 2) examine sign language interpreters’ perceptions and experiences of the determinants of remote interpreting implementation from home during the pandemic, 3) provide a summary of the individual-level experiences of interpreters and the organizational-level perspectives of interpreting administrators upon transitioning from onsite to remote work, and 4) describe the technical aspects and gather the personal impressions of sign language interpreters working remotely and compare with working onsite.

Mini-grant funds contributed to a partnership between the Genesee Valley Region, Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (GVRRID) and the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC). URMC became an organizational member of the GVRRID, allowing Dr. Roman to participate in board meetings which, subsequently, fostered trustworthiness, supported study recruitment, and facilitated an invitation for Dr. Roman to present study findings at a GVRRID General Meeting in March 2021 and to submit a proposal to present at the RID, Region I Conference in August 2022. Funds also supported focus groups and several scholarly papers on this work. 

February recipient: Betsy Bringewatt, PhD, Chief Program Officer of Children and Families, Jewish Family Services

"Baby Safe Sleep Coalition Parent Engagement Initiative"

The objective of this project is to expand the Baby Safe Sleep Coalition to include low-income parents and caregivers from communities of color to improve coalition effectiveness in understanding, reaching, engaging and informing parents who are not consistently using safe sleep practices.

August recipient: Nancy Cardona, DrPH, MS, Population Health Postdoctoral Fellow in URMC​'s OBGYN department

"Puerto Rican Diaspora Experiences with Recent Hurricanes and Housing Environment Health Risks"

The objectives of her project include conducting community-based formative research to identify salient issues related to the passage of Hurricane Maria among families who moved from Puerto Rico to the Rochester area, engaging Puerto Rican community members to fortify a relationship with the Puerto Rican Diaspora in Rochester, and providing actionable pilot data for a larger longitudinal study of Puerto Rican Diaspora families in the future.

May recipient: Wyatte C. Hall, Research Assistant Professor in URMC's OBGYN department 

Exploring the Early Intervention Experiences of Parents with Deaf Infants to Inform the Ongoing Development of a Community-Based Deaf Mentors Program”

The objective of this project is to partner with parents who have deaf infants and are participating in the Early Childhood Program (ECP) at the Rochester School for the Deaf (RSD). In collaboration with the ECP director, Karen Windhorn, the team aims to document ECP parents’ recent and ongoing experiences with the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention System (EHDI). 

February recipient: Rudy Rivera, Father Tracey Advocacy Center

“Story Lines from the Front Lines”

The objective of this project is to better understand the life experiences of people who are struggling with opioid addiction. The team will be conducting in-depth, ethnographic interviews with 15 to 25 people in order to empathetically understand the emotional and psycho-social barriers to entering rehab. They will recruit participants from among those who are in contact with in the Father Tracy Advocacy Center (FTAC) located in the El Camino neighborhood at 821 N. Clinton Ave. Participants will be incentivized with a $25 gift card. The team intends to build a mutually beneficial and sustainable partnership between University of Rochester researchers, it’s students, FTAC and North Clinton Ave. residents.