Minnesota DHS Systems Change and Capacity Building Through Research, Training, and Technical Assistance Projects


Conducts research, training and technical assistance activities that enhance Minnesota's capacity to support community living for individuals with disabilities and/or mental illness. Primary areas of focus include expanded professional competency in, and statewide and organization-wide use of, person-centered service approaches, effective Positive Behavior Support interventions, evidence-based practices promoting a recovery approach to mental illness, integrated models of residential services and supports for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders, and early intervention services for young children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Research and training activities will also be conducted to promote interdisciplinary teamwork among service professionals and improved use of employability data on people with disabilities by agencies and programs. In addition to the focus on professional development and system improvement is an emphasis on building capacity to support individuals leaving congregate care settings through use of competency-based training for families and others in their circles of support, as well as peer support leadership training for self-advocates.

Rachel L Freeman, Amy S Hewitt
Amy S Hewitt
Minnesota Department of Human Services


Adele F Dimian :: Research Associate


Nicole K Duchelle :: Education Program Spec 2

Partner staff

Danelle R Dunphy :: Instructor

Rachel L Freeman :: Director of State Initiatives

Gretchen B Gallagher Weinstein :: Principal Office and Administrative Specialist

Amy S Hewitt :: Director, Institute on Community Integration


Vena F Holub :: Grad Assistant - AY

Muna Khalif :: Education Program Specialist 2

Barbara A Kleist :: Program Manager

Tim Moore :: Researcher 6

Mark R Olson :: Project Coordinator

Susan N O'Nell :: Director – DirectCourse UMN Curriculum

Jessica J Simacek :: Research Manager

Laurie Chet Tschetter :: Education Specialist 2


  • Community life
    • Community supports and services
      • Positive behavior support
        • Self-advocacy and self-determination
        • Employment and postsecondary education
          • Employment and workforce development
          • Housing and residential services
            • Consumer/self-directed services
              • Family supports/in-home services
              • Specific disability
                • Autism spectrum disorder (ASD)
                • Specific life stage
                  • Adolescents and young adults
                    • Adults
                      • Children
                        • Seniors


                        • Evaluation
                          • Research
                            • Technical assistance
                              • Training and professional development