About CEAL

CEAL at a Glance

CEAL's Mission

To provide trustworthy information through active community engagement and outreach to the people hardest-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, including African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos and American Indians/Alaska Natives, with the goal of building long-lasting partnerships as well as improving diversity and inclusion in our research response to COVID-19.

Where CEAL Research Teams Are Working

CEAL Research teams are currently working in counties in Alabama, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas.

Research Team Funding

NIH awarded $12 million to RTI International, a non-profit research institution which will serve as the Technical and Administrative Support and Coordination (TASC) center, in support of CEAL.

Coordinating COVID-19 Trial Networks

  • Accelerating COVID-19 Therapeutic Interventions and Vaccines (ACTIV)
  • COVID-19 Prevention Network (CoVPN) 
  • Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx SM)
  • Collaborating Network of Networks for Evaluating COVID-19 and Therapeutic Strategies (CONNECTs)

Areas of Focus


How CEAL Works

CEAL research teams focus in two areas:

  1. Supporting and expanding community outreach  
  2. Establishing communication networks

Doctor and patient during consultation.

Supporting and expanding community outreach

CEAL will work to support and expand existing NIH community outreach efforts already underway through COVID-19 trial networks, such as ACTIV (treatments), RADx (diagnostics) and COVPN (vaccines).

The Alliance does this work through NIH-funded research programs that existed before the pandemic and have a track record of research that improves the health of racially and ethnically diverse communities. 

Through CEAL’s research teams, NIH will identify and connect with some of the hardest-hit communities, including those who might otherwise not be reached through COVID-19 clinical research recruitment sites.

Patient on virtual conference with doctors.

Establishing communication networks

CEAL will work to establish communication networks across available channels and through engagement with trusted organizations and people. 

This will make it easier to share accurate and trustworthy information about the virus, how to reduce its spread, and how to protect people, families and their communities.

Inclusion of African American, Hispanic/Latino, and American Indian/Alaska Native communities in COVID-19 trials remains essential, also, for developing  vaccines and other treatments that are safe and effective for everyone.    

In addition to information about the virus, it is important to encourage people in places where COVID-19 has caused more sickness and death to join testing, treatment, vaccine, and other COVID-19 research studies, using messages and channels that speak to them.

How CEAL is Funded

In September 2020, the National Institutes of Health announced an award for outreach and engagement efforts in ethnically and racially diverse communities that have been hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The award supports teams in 11 states established as part of the NIH’s CEAL Alliance. These teams received initial funding to immediately create CEAL programs in these areas. CEAL awardees have long, successful histories of community-engaged research.

CEAL Team Principal Investigators and Institutions

CEAL research teams share a goal of quickly launching outreach efforts to help reduce the impact of COVID-19 on the most vulnerable populations and to evaluate these efforts through community-engaged research.

Mona N. Fouad, M.D., M.P.H.
University of Alabama at Birmingham

Sairam Parthasarathy, M.D.
University of Arizona College of Medicine, Tucson

Arleen F. Brown, M.D., Ph.D.
University of California, Los Angeles

Olveen Carrasquillo, M.D., M.P.H
University of Miami

Tabia Henry Akintobi, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta

Marie A. Krousel-Wood, M.D.
Tulane University, New Orleans 

Erica Marsh, M.D.
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Caroline Compretta, Ph.D.
University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson

Anissa I. Vines, Ph.D.
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Paul Juarez, Ph.D.
Meharry Medical College, Nashville, Tennessee

Jamboor Vishwanatha, Ph.D.
University of North Texas Health Science Center, Fort Worth

Linda Squiers, Ph.D.
Technical Lead
Technical and Administrative Support and Coordination (TASC)
RTI International


Partnering with Communities

You can find more information on how CEAL is working with communities to address COVID-19 in our CEAL Fact Sheet (PDF, 496KB).

NIH COVID-19 Response

The leadership and expertise of the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) drives CEAL’s NIH-wide community engagement effort focused on addressing the major impacts of COVID-19 on specific communities.

For more information on the larger NIH response to the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit the NIH coronavirus page.

Get Connected

Find the most up-to-date information to share with peers, partners, and other members of the communities you serve.

Find Events

Find information on upcoming events and see past event summaries.

See Events

See New Resources

Bookmark the CEAL home page and check back often for new resources.

Visit CEAL Home