Who We Are


  • Mary O. Hearst, PhD, MPH, 
Research Associate, EpiCH
, Children, Youth and Family Consortium Scholar
  • Michael Oakes, PhD, 
McKnight Presidential Fellow, 
Associate Professor, EpiCH

Where We Work

At the University of Minnesota…

More About Us

Mary Hearst is a Research Associate and Instructor in the Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, Children, Youth and Family Consortium Scholar, and co-Director of MCWRC. Hearst’s research is focused on family and community based childhood obesity prevention and health and education disparities, particularly among low-income, multi-ethnic communities. Website: http://www.sph.umn.edu/epi/ | Contact: hearst@umn.edu

Cathy Jordan, Pediatric Neuropsychologist by training, is Director of the Children, Youth, and Family Consortium (CYFC) and an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Minnesota. Cathy leads CYFC’s efforts to address educational and health disparities through policy education, the generation, dissemination and application of research, and programmatic partnerships. Website: www.cyfc.umn.edu | Contact:  jorda003@umn.edu, 612-625-7591

Anita Larson currently works for Ramsey’s Public Health Department as a planning and evaluation analyst. Anita has an interest in all areas of research related to human capital including intervention and prevention programs and policies, with a particular focus on the use of administrative data to support research. Website: http://www.co.ramsey.mn.us/ph  | Contact: anita.larson@co.ramsey.mn.us

J. Michael Oakes is an Associate Professor in the Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, Co-Director in the US Census Data Research Center, and Director of the Social Epidemiology Workgroup. One major research interest is the impact of social systems on health outcomes. Dr. Oakes is conducting several studies within this broad program and refining methodologies for the same. Contact: oakes007@umn.edu

Peter Rode is a research scientist in the Center for Health Statistics at the Minnesota Department of Health. He works primarily on large population-based health surveys, including the Minnesota Student Survey, Minnesota Youth Tobacco Survey, and Minnesota Adult Tobacco Survey. The Student Survey in particular may be useful to anyone interested in adolescent health and well being. Website: http://www.health.state.mn.us | Contact: peter.rode@state.mn.us

Rhonda Jones-Webb is an Associate Professor in the Division of Epidemiology and Community Health at the University of Minnesota. She is a member of the Alcohol Epidemiology Program, the University of Minnesota Cancer Center, and the Health Disparities Work Group. Contact: jones010@umn.edu

Toben Nelson is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Epidemiology and Community Health at the University of Minnesota. He is a member of the Alcohol Epidemiology Program. Contact: tfnelson@umn.edu

Sonya Brady is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Epidemiology and Community Health at the University of Minnesota. Contact: ssbrady@umn.edu

Tom Luce is the Director of Research at the Institute on Race and Poverty at the University of Minnesota. His research focus is economic development and fiscal issues in metropolitan areas in the U.S. Website: http://www.irpumn.org | Contact: tluce@umn.edu

Tim Zuel has worked for 20 years in public child welfare including both child protection and children’s mental health. His area of research includes child maltreatment and connections to future delinquency, early school absenteeism, minority communities school engagement, and  policy issues on child welfare interventions. Website:  http://www.cehd.umn.edu/ssw/cascw/  | Contact: tzuel@umn.edu

Susan Everson-Rose is an Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine and Associate Director of the Program in Health Disparities Research at the University of Minnesota. Contact: saer@umn.edu

Ali Anfinson works at the Minnesota Department of Education as a Results Measurement Director. Website: http://education.state.mn.us  | Contact: allison.anfinson@state.mn.us

Danette Buskovick is a Researcher with the Department of Public Safety, Office of Justice Programs. Website: https://dps.mn.gov/  | Contact: Danette.Buskovick@state.mn.us

Why We’re Here

“The Children Youth Family Consortium’s focuses on the intersection of education and health disparities, which is exactly the issue that got MCWRC started in the first place. From this [MCWRC] collaborative we hope to aid in the promotion of research that focused on the intersection of education and health disparities.” – Cathy Jordan

“I look at it as a refreshingly broad venue and multidisciplinary group of people meeting to discuss social problems in a research-oriented way. People…don’t realize the ways all of our child welfare work is connected. MCWRC has created a space for that rich multidisciplinary dialogue, exploration, and sharing of ideas to occur around the topic of child welfare and social problems.” – Anita Larson

“MCWRC is an effort to build relationships. Why? Because the idea is that all research is relationships; whether it be with grant funders, with the IRB, with current researchers, etc., relationships are key.” – Michael Oakes

“The Department of Education, where I work, is seeking to build better partnerships to further research related to youth, as well as to use our data more effectively.” – Ali Anfinson

“[Through MCWRC] I hope to strengthen relationships with community and state partners. Together, we can design research that has greater relevance to the missions of community organizations and state agencies and greater real-world application.” – Sonya Brady

“Through being on MCWRC, I’ve learned about MinnLInk. MinnLInk has opened up a lot of possibilities about how you can link….data together so that we have education data, child welfare data, and human services data, all together in one accessible location.” – Peter Rode

“Through MCWRC I’ve been able to pull people in on projects. I’ve been able to share ideas, meet people, have access to data sets, etc. I’ve also gotten grants with MCWRC partners.” – Toben Nelson

“The main product of MCWRC has been the unique development of relationships between different faculty and different state agencies, which otherwise would not normally occur as it isn’t the norm for such people to collaborate.” – Cathy Jordan