Skip to content

The Community Engagement Alliance Against COVID-19 Disparities (CEAL)

In the United States, COVID-19 has taken a greater toll on some communities — especially those with large African American, Hispanic/Latino, and Native American populations. Addressing health disparities has long been a priority for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and COVID-19 has underscored just how critical to public health this focus is. As we work to respond to COVID-19, one of our goals is reducing the burden of disease on the hardest hit communities. NIH is taking several steps toward achieving this goal by helping community organizations address misinformation, build trust, and reduce the impact of COVID-19.

The Alliance

  1. Conducts outreach and seeks input from communities to raise awareness about COVID-19 and to address misinformation and mistrust about the pandemic and efforts to combat it
  2. Works to ensure that COVID-19 prevention and treatment clinical trials include the racial and ethnic minority populations most affected by the pandemic.

Alliance Partners

CEAL engages partners in key areas of the country where the impact of COVID-19 has been and remains the greatest and where NIH investments in community engagement research are optimal. These partners include:

  • NIH-funded researchers who currently work in these areas of greatest need
  • Federally funded programs
  • National organizations and groups with local affiliates such as:
    • Clinical practice organizations
    • Community-based organizations
    • Faith-based organizations
    • Local chapters of national organizations
    • Minority professional societies



How the CEAL Alliance works

CEAL has two primary functions:


Support and expand existing community outreach efforts by NIH COVID-19 trial networks, such as ACTIV (treatments), RADx (diagnostics) and COVPN (vaccines) , by working through NIH-funded research programs that existed before the pandemic and have a track record of research to improve minority health.

These efforts will help NIH identify and engage the hardest-hit communities that might otherwise not be reached through COVID-19 clinical research recruitment sites. This work is being done through the initiative’s CEAL Teams.


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.

It is also important to encourage people to join testing, treatment, vaccine, and other COVID-19 research studies, using messages and channels that reach people who live where COVID-19 has caused higher rates of sickness and death.

How will NIH support community organizations?

Through the Alliance, NIH seeks to reach people in the communities that have been hardest hit by COVID-19. To build a dialogue with these communities, this initiative:

  • Brings together organizations who work with local “champions” (i.e., community organizations, influential groups or people) to help create and pilot content and digital products for media, social media, and outreach to the public.
  • Creates a single location for resources tailored to community outreach. This will allow the community engagement “champions” to draw from a pool of locally relevant news and feature stories, fact sheets, public service announcements, and other credible content.
  • Quickly connects NIH researchers with people in other federally funded programs, in high-need areas that may be beyond the reach of existing NIH COVID-19 trial networks. These include practice-based research and community health worker networks, participating research centers, and federally qualified health centers. Together, their primary goal will be to help people find and learn about COVID-19 treatment, vaccine, and other prevention trials near where they live.


The Alliance will begin its work in areas where NIH is already doing COVID-related research. Specifically, we will be working with:

  • Organizations serving those communities that are hardest hit by COVID-19, including African Americans, Hispanic/Latinos, Native Americans, and people in rural communities.
  • Partners in specific areas who also work with Phase 3 vaccine trials.

Information for CEAL partners and teams

Available Resources

Available resources have been compiled from trusted sources and shared via the CEAL website.


Coming Soon

CEAL will continue to collect feedback from community partners and conduct communication research across communities to help make the content we create as useful as possible. New content will continue to be posted on the website.

Get involved

Getting the most up-to-date information to share with peers, partners, and other members of the communities you serve is easy:

Do you know people who want to participate or volunteer?

Volunteer now!