Megan Gunnar
November 13, 2019

“Too often, race, zip code, and income determine the trajectory of our kids’ lives,” said Lieutenant Governor Flanagan. “This council – made up of parents, advocates, teachers, school districts, county and tribal administrators, leaders and voices from the private and public sector, communities of color, and Greater Minnesota – will help our charge to place children at the center of government and commit to prioritizing equitable outcomes so that all Minnesotans can reach their full potential.”

Extensive outreach and conversation went in to the appointment process for these positions over the last three months, with nearly 200 people applying to serve.

Drs. Fox and Kelly
November 8, 2019

“We said, ‘We need to think of obesity as a disease and we need to treat it as such,’” Kelly says. “You don’t just tell someone with diabetes to try harder or someone with depression to cheer up. These are diseases with underlying causes. And obesity is no different.”

“Severe obesity is a disorder of energy regulation—that’s all it is,” Fox says. “It’s not from eating too many cookies or watching too much TV. It’s a dysfunction of how the body operates.”

Nearly a decade after their initial conversations, the two are now co-directors of the U’s new Center for Pediatric Obesity Medicine, a comprehensive program funded in part by Minnesota Masonic Charities that unites innovative research, compassionate care, education, and public advocacy to help kids with severe obesity.

Dr. Fox
November 4, 2019

A team of researchers led by Claudia Fox, MD, MPH, associate professor of Pediatrics and co-director of the Center for Pediatric Obesity Medicine at the University of Minnesota, has received a five-year, $3.2 million grant to study treatments for severe obesity in adolescents. The grant is awarded by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases of the National Institutes of Health.

“Many people don’t recognize that obesity is a biological condition at its core,” Dr. Fox said. “A biological disease often requires a biological treatment, such as medications, to match it.”


October 11, 2019

The University of Minnesota Board of Regents approved today the purchase of the Shriners Hospital property in Minneapolis. Should the University successfully close on the purchase of the 10.2-acre property at 2025 East River Parkway, the campus will become a first-of-its-kind Institute for Child and Adolescent Brain Health.

Dr. Stephanie Carlson
October 2, 2019

Over time, the show and other Sesame Workshop productions have evolved to address not only early academic skills, but other developmental areas researchers have found to be important for children’s success in school.

When the team wanted Cookie Monster to learn some self-control around his favorite treat, they called in Stephanie Carlson, a University of Minnesota developmental psychologist whose work focuses on children’s executive function skills.

“Sesame is so well-known globally,” says Carlson, “it sort of served as an endorsement of the importance of this topic, which was relatively unknown.”

Dr. Mark Schleiss
September 4, 2019

Nationally, about one baby in 100 is born with cytomegalovirus (CMV), the most common infection that causes birth defects and disabilities in babies in the United States. As National Immunization Awareness Month draws to a close, a researcher at the University of Minnesota (U of M) Medical School has been awarded a National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant for $3.9 million to conduct research studies of novel vaccine strategies for this infection.

The National Academy of Medicine has identified a CMV vaccine as being the highest public health priority for any new vaccine.

Megan Gunnar
June 22, 2019

"Humans are designed to react to stress. All sorts of circuits and functions in our brains interact to get us to slam on the brakes, or duck, or hide, all in an effort to keep us safe. “We don’t wait until the lion is eating us; at the first sign of the lion, we run the hell away,” Gunnar explains. But when a child lives with abuse, neglect, or is witness to violence, he or she is primed for that fight or flight all the time. The burden of that stress, what Bruce McEwan calls “allostatic load,” can damage small, developing brains and bodies.

The presence of one loving, consistent adult that can buffer the worst effects of stress and adversity for children...But it’s hard to be attentive and responsive to a child’s stress when you are worried about being evicted and where your next meal is coming from.

Jed Elison and Jason Wolff
May 29, 2019

Approximately one in 42 school-aged children in Minnesota and one in 59 nationally has a diagnosis of ASD. Children who have older siblings with autism are at an even higher risk of developing the condition. Using current methods, ASD is difficult to diagnose early, as behavioral signs, like social communication deficits or restricted and repetitive behaviors, aren’t usually observable until at least age two. The average age of diagnosis is about five years old in Minnesota and about four years old nationally, meaning children typically don’t receive interventions until later in their development, after the brain becomes less plastic or malleable.