Throughout my time on faculty, I have engaged in service to the University of Minnesota, Medical School, Department of Pediatrics, and Division of General Pediatrics and Adolescent Health; and professional service to the academy. My professional service to the scientific community includes grant, manuscript, and textbook reviews. I am a member of the American Psychological Association and Academic Consortium on Criminal Justice Health. In 2019, I developed a workgroup and led a convening of researchers from five Centers of Excellence in Maternal and Child Health to discuss research, training, and advocacy efforts related to justice-involved women and girls. Products from some of this work can be found here.

I am regularly invited to speak about my work to audiences beyond the academy. Each year, I give approximately 6-10 presentations to community-based organizations, professional groups, and government agencies. Reflecting the University’s commitment to community engagement, I have translated and disseminated the research in this area to diverse audiences, including incarcerated parents, teachers, social workers, service providers, lawyers, corrections professionals, county commissioners, and legislators. These presentations reflect my desire to “give the science away” and my commitment to translating research into practice and policy.

In 2020, I was appointed by Governor Walz to the Children’s Cabinet Advisory Council. In 2014 and 2020, I was recognized for Excellence in Child Health Advocacy from the Department of Pediatrics.

Project Teddy Bear

During the Spring 2017 semester, students in Dr. Shlafer’s University of Minnesota (UMN) honor’s class, Incarceration and the Family, partnered with Dr. Diana Poch and people incarcerated at the Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) in Sandstone, MN to start Project Teddy Bear, a restorative justice project at FCI-Sandstone. Throughout the semester, students collected yarn to send to incarcerated men. The men – many of whom were learning to crochet for the first time – used the yarn to crochet stuffed animals which were then donated to children at the Ronald McDonald House. Each animal and character is individually designed and crocheted.

Relevant Articles:

Minnesota Daily, "UMN Project Delivers Crocheted Toys to Sick Kids", (October 2017)

Star Tribune, "Minnesota Inmates Crochet Way to Redemption in Project Teddy Bear", (September 2017)