• Wingnut, puppy of grad student Stephanie Ku ’14, is a future therapy dog for the MIT Puppy Lab, a first-round MindHandHeart-funded project.

    Wingnut, puppy of grad student Stephanie Ku ’14, is a future therapy dog for the MIT Puppy Lab, a first-round MindHandHeart-funded project.

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  • January 21, 2016, workshop participants “slow-look” at Sol LeWitt’s Bars of Color within Squares (MIT) installation in Building 6C. Slow Looking Art Workshops won a first-round Innovation Fund (IF) grant from MIT’s MindHandHeart Initiative

    January 21, 2016, workshop participants “slow-look” at Sol LeWitt’s Bars of Color within Squares (MIT) installation in Building 6C. Slow Looking Art Workshops won a first-round Innovation Fund (IF) grant from MIT’s MindHandHeart Initiative

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Second-round MindHandHeart Innovation Fund grant recipients announced

Wingnut, puppy of grad student Stephanie Ku ’14, is a future therapy dog for the MIT Puppy Lab, a first-round MindHandHeart-funded project.

Grants totaling $24,870 were awarded to seven proposals in the second Innovation Fund cycle.


The MindHandHeart Initiative, co-sponsored by the Office of the Chancellor and MIT Medical, announced the second round of Innovation Fund grant recipients. Seven new proposals were selected from a pool of 15 applications. These join with the eight proposals funded in October, bringing the total funding this academic year to $48,780. The grants are designed to tap MIT’s experimental side (mind and hand) and community spirit side (heart) in order to find new ways to enhance mental health and well-being.

Among the proposals funded in the second round are: My Sister’s Keeper, a program that serves black women MIT students by fostering community among MIT’s black women faculty, staff, and students; Deaf at MIT, a program to welcome all voices and enhance accessibility for MIT community members who communicate differently; Mindful, an experimental dashboard that will explore new ways to examine well-being on campus; SNAPSHOT Expose, an app designed to help MIT students reflect on daily behaviors; a health and wellness bookmobile from MIT Libraries; an indoor gardening project; and a now-successful IAP wellness series that was designed and presented by Students at MIT Allied for Student Health (SMASH).

As with the last round of funding, some proposed projects were paired with other campus efforts for further development.

“I was thrilled to see second-round proposals cover such a range of modes and approaches to community well-being,” said Maryanne Kirkbride, clinical director of student life at MIT. “This Institute initiative was launched by Medical and the Chancellor’s office, but involvement snowballed as soon as the steering committee assembled in early September. The six working groups and 15 Innovation Fund projects thus far represent all walks of MIT. Everyone is examining wellness from new angles. The Innovation Fund proposals all express passionate commitment to building a healthier, stronger community. They show that we’re coming together in support of one another.”

In letters sent to the grant awardees, the MindHandHeart working groups commented that projects “stood out” for focusing on “a positive community experience,” “using an evidence-based approach,” “promoting self-examination,” or “leveraging existing programs” in “inventive ways.” The Innovation Fund, which is a centerpiece of the MindHandHeart Initiative, offers grants of up to $10,000 to invest in cutting-edge ideas and grassroots solutions developed by faculty, students, and staff. 

Funded proposals from the first round announced in November can already be seen in action on campus. Koru mindfulness classes at MIT Community Wellness, filled throughout January, are now accepting sign-up for February. The Slow Looking Art Workshops held at the List Center have provided rest and reflection through close observation and drawing from artwork in MIT’s collection.

After such positive response to the first two cycles, the Innovation Fund is now streamlining and improving the online submission and review process. In the next few weeks, the third round opens for applications. Please visit the MindHandHeart website in the coming weeks for more information and updates.

MindHandHeart is an Institute-wide initiative designed to tap into MIT’s passionate community spirit and innovative problem-solving skills to enhance mental health and overall well-being. Through MindHandHeart, students, faculty, staff, and other experts are working together to launch promising new efforts to complement and enhance existing support services.


Topics: Community, Mental health, Student life, Students, Faculty, Staff, Grants, MIT Medical, Campus services, Chancellor, MindHandHeart

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