Regional Center Hosted Events

Epidemic of Loneliness

We live in the age of constant connection: People text and drive,
frantically refresh their emails, and doom scroll social media. At any
given time we have a half a dozen ways to contact each other. And yet,
ironically, we have become the most disconnected society in history. In
fact, rates of loneliness and social isolation have been trending lower for
decades. The pandemic, of course, only exacerbated this problem.
How lonely are we really? How did we get so lonely? And what can we
do about it? In this session, we explore the Epidemic of Loneliness and
Social Isolation. We answer these essential questions and more as we
devise solutions to counteract loneliness.

Presenters: Dr. Alex Elswick

Date: Tuesday, March 12, 2024

Time: 10:00 AM – 11:15 PM CST / 11:00 AM – 12:15 PM EST

Location: online webinar

Youth Mental Health & Social Success Series:

Digital Consent Rights for Youth with Disabilities (Part 2)

Online Dating, Sexting, and Porn, Oh My! Helping Neurodivergent Teens Connect Safely Online


1. Learn how to identify the needs behind the behavior, to increase understanding and empathy and respond effectively

2. Learn how to build trust with teens to increase safety

3. Identify risk factors and “red flags” of online behavior, to better be able to support and educate neurodivergent teens on these topics

4. Develop alternative strategies to behavioral modification in addressing risky online behavior

Presenters: Ellen Merker

Date: Thursday, March 20, 2024

Time: 3:45 PM – 6:15 PM CST / 4:45 PM – 7:15 PM EST

Location: online webinar

Grant Writing Tips

Are you a nonprofit, business, or government leader in need of grant writing skills? Sign up for this informative and hands-on virtual training on grant writing. Key takeaways include:

  • The outline of a common grant proposal.
  • Where to look for funding for your organization.
  • The most common grant writing mistakes.

This workshop will equip you with the basic skills of grant writing, an increasingly essential method for raising money to fund projects or programs for your organization.

Discover the how and where to look for funding to match your organization’s needs. Find out about 990 Forms, where to find them, and what can they tell you to help you narrow your search for a grant that would meet your project need. Find out where there are grant libraries and why you would visit them. Learn tips on writing a grant proposals. The workshop will cover the components of a grant proposal. The workshop will look at how a needs assessment, program planning, and evaluation fit into a proposal format. Look at some basic strategies for determining budget requests and working with funding agencies.

Experienced Extension Educators will co-lead the workshop to make it informative, fun, and interactive!

Presenters: Patrick Nehring, Ariga Grigoryan, and Kayla Rombalski

Date: Monday, April 8, 2024

Time: 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM CST / 12:00 – 2:00 PM EST

Location: online webinar

Harm Reduction Public Health Vending Machines

This event is awaiting data review by Tribal Legislation in Minnesota through the partnership with the University of Minnesota and the Federally Recognized Tribal Nations within Minnesota. It will be rescheduled once the review is completed and the data is released for public consumption.

Join us for a webinar about an innovative way to reduce the harms of substance use and overdose: public health vending machines. These machines provide the community with access to harm reduction supplies, including sterile injection equipment, naloxone, and drug testing strips. This webinar will describe

  • The state of the science on public health vending machines
  • Installation of public health vending machines in northern Minnesota in collaboration with the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa.
  • Lessons learned implementing machines

Presenters: Sean Allen, Laura Palombi, Pamela Hughes

Date: To be rescheduled

Time: TBC

Location: online webinar

About the Presenters

Dr. Sean T. Allen, DrPH, MPH, is an Assistant Professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Dr. Allen has conducted several studies pertaining to the public health of people who inject drugs over his career, including evaluating the public health benefits of naloxone dispensation at public health vending machines.

Laura Palombi, PharmD, MPH, MAT, is the Associate Dean for Students and an Associate Professor in the Pharmacy Practice and Pharmaceutical Sciences Department at the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy – Duluth. Dr. Palombi is also a consultant for area treatment court teams. She has established relationships with public health professionals, healthcare systems, and providers and has a strong background in providing effective, multi-pronged education on topics including harm reduction and opioid-emergency response.

Alex Elswick, PhD, is a tireless advocate for people with substance use disorders. He currently serves the University of Kentucky as an Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist for Substance Use Prevention and Recovery. Alex is a trained researcher, recovery coach, and mental health therapist, as well as the co-founder of Voices of Hope, a peer-driven recovery community organization. But most importantly, Alex is himself a person in long term recovery from the chronic disease of addiction.

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