To bolster research to help communities disproportionately affected by COVID-19, the National Institutes of Health is funding $29 million in additional grants for the NIH Community Engagement Alliance (CEAL) Against COVID-19 Disparities. This funding was supported by the American Rescue Plan. The awards will provide $15 million to 11 teams already conducting research and outreach to help strengthen COVID-19 vaccine confidence and access, as well as testing and treatment, in communities of color. An additional $14 million will fund 10 new research teams to extend the reach of COVID-19 community-engaged research and outreach.
"It's one thing to have strong national messages about the science behind vaccines," said Eliseo J. Pérez-Stable, M.D., director, National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD). "It's another to have those messages delivered by local, trusted sources, who can ensure questions from their communities are honestly and clearly addressed."
Eleven research teams received $17 million in grants in 2020 to reach residents at risk of severe COVID-19 outcomes. Spread throughout the country, CEAL research groups have used different strategies to coordinate educational outreach, raise awareness about the importance of inclusive participation in COVID-19 testing, vaccine uptake, and clinical trials, and conduct research to understand barriers surrounding prevention and treatment. CEAL researchers also study the best ways to address these challenges and establish trust in the scientific process, while equitably distributing COVID-19 resources tailored to each community.