2023 Annual Report

Message from the Hennepin-University Partnership Director

Amy Delahanty headshot
Amy Delahanty, HUP Director

This past year has been marked by significant milestones and growth for the Hennepin-University Partnership (HUP), as we continued our mission of catalyzing and supporting mutually beneficial partnerships to drive positive community change. It was also a year of transition as we said goodbye to former director Scott Vargo and HUP Leadership Team member Interim Vice Provost for Public Engagement Heidi Barajas.

In 2023, HUP facilitated 34 projects, 13 events, and involved students on over 21 projects. We convened leaders and subject matter experts from both the county and the university around housing and climate resilience, engaging over 65 faculty, researchers, staff, and administration. We held the second cohort of our Collaborative Research Assistantship and the first cohort of the Evaluation Assistantship, providing nine graduate students with paid research assistantships to work on county-identified research questions. We instituted the “HUP Project Experience,” a robust project and relationship management workflow in support of our project teams. These various threads encapsulate hundreds of hours, connection points, and conversations working in partnership to leverage innovative research to advance meaningful change.

As we reflect on the accomplishments of the past year, I want to extend my deepest gratitude to our partners for your hard work and collaboration. I am excited about the opportunities that lie ahead and I look forward to advancing this critical work together.

In partnership,


Amy Delahanty, HUP Director

The Year at a Glance

$673,646, Total funding for projects started in 2023 13 HUP Events 34 Projects Initiated 21 Projects Involving Student Research 38 UMN Units Engaged 18 HC Departments Engaged  PROJECTS AND EVENTS BY TOPIC, Projects may be counted in more than one category 12 Climate 3 Connectivity 6 Education 3 Employment 7 Health 6 Housing 5 Income 9 Justice


January - Transportation and Happiness


Priority Area: Connectivity

Dr. Yingling Fan of the Humphrey School of Public Affairs presented “Happy Cities: the Role of Transportation,” exploring how transportation options and choices can affect our emotions and quality of life.


February - Uncovering the Whiteness Pandemic


Priority Area: Justice

Dr. Gail Ferguson presented findings from her Whiteness Pandemic Project, which examines how White parents communicated with their children about racism or antiracism immediately after the murder of George Floyd and one year later. 



March - Child care subsidies impact parents’ employment


Priority Area: Income

Dr. Elizabeth E. Davis  presented on programs and policies related to low-income families with children, with an emphasis on the impact of child care subsidies on parents’ employment and child care choices.


April - Workshop on a participatory method for evaluation

Dr. Scott Chazdon, University of Minnesota Extension Evaluation and Research Specialist, conducted a free workshop introducing Hennepin County staff to Ripple Effect Mapping, a participatory method for conducting evaluation that engages program and community stakeholders to visually map the chain of effects resulting from a program or collaboration.


May - Humphrey School Capstone Presentations


Priority Area: Housing, Health, Justice, Connectivity

Three teams of graduate students at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs presented findings from capstone projects in partnership with Hennepin County. These teams explored investment in ending single adult homelessness, how cities address gun violence, and pedestrian safety on Hennepin County roadways.


June - Gender disparities in STEM employment persist


Priority Area: Employment

Dr. Tom Van Heuvelen presented his research into gender inequality in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) professions, revealing persistent gaps in earnings and employment between men and women that cannot be explained by education or parenthood alone.


July - Changing landlord strategies during and after the eviction moratorium


Priority Area: Housing

Dr. Edward Goetz discussed research into the effect of Minnesota’s eviction moratorium on reported formal and informal evictions in the state. While formal evictions declined during the moratorium, after the moratorium, such reports increased at a greater rate for BIPOC tenants than for white tenants. Informal evictions, or those in which a tenant is made to leave but not through legal means, remained consistent before, during, and after the eviction moratorium.


August - HUP Collaborative Research Assistantship (HCRA) Research Symposium

The seven students in the 2023 HCRA cohort presented the results of their research projects with Hennepin County, shared their learnings, and answered audience questions. Project topics covered a range of issues, including violence prevention, climate resilience, and results-focused investment.


September - Social determinants of mental health in the Twin Cities


Priority Area: Health

Dr. Angie Fertig presented on the associations between social determinants of health (SDOH) and mental health using evidence from a Twin Cities sample, revealing significant variation in access to key SDOH and mental health outcomes by race and ethnicity.


October - Housing discrimination helped shape Minneapolis’ park system


Priority Area: Housing, Justice

Dr. Hannah Ramer and Dr. Rebecca Walker examined key moments over the last century that contributed to the starkly uneven environmental landscape Minneapolis residents experience today.


November - The nature of work is changing, and research says that is a good thing


Priority Area: Employment

Dr. Phyllis Moen and Dr. Sarah Flood discussed their research on the changing nature of work, including the uneven impacts on work attachments, flexible work arrangements and well-being by gender, race, class, and life stage.