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Community Engagement Alliance Against COVID-19 Disparities: CEAL DMV

What is CEAL?

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Community Engagement Alliance (CEAL) against COVID-19 Disparities is a vast network of community-engaged researchers, community-based organizations, government officials, and public health experts working towards the shared goal of building long-lasting community partnerships and improving diversity and inclusion in our research response to COVID-19. There are 21 “CEAL Teams” engaging communities in states across the country. Using their existing relationships and fostering new ones, these teams work closely with community leaders and organizations to address the misinformation and mistrust that can slow movement out of the pandemic. CEAL Teams’ goals are to provide trustworthy and accurate information and to use rapid research approaches to find effective ways to deliver information to communities hardest hit by the pandemic. More information about CEAL can be found at

What is CEAL DMV?

CEAL DMV is the team awarded by NIH to carry out the CEAL mission in DC, Maryland, and Virginia. It is a group of five universities: Johns Hopkins University, George Washington University, Morgan State University, Howard University, and University of Maryland Baltimore. Each university has its own principal investigator leading the implementation of a unique project. A full list of CEAL DMV team members can be found at

What is the CEAL initiative at JHU ICTR?

Led by Principal Investigator Dr. Cheryl Himmelfarb, the Community and Collaboration Core is working to grow the Hopkins Opportunities for Participant Engagement (HOPE) Community. The HOPE Community started as a registry to connect patients and researchers for COVID-19 studies. It has since been expanded to provide trustworthy information to community members about COVID-19. You can learn more about HOPE here:

By engaging with community partners, connecting with community members in person, and employing multiple digital outreach strategies, we hope to expand the reach of the HOPE Community and increase inclusion of Black and Latinx communities. Specifically, JHU’s CEAL project aims to answer the following research questions:

  • Which engagement and communication modalities achieve greater reach, engagement, and enrollment with HOPE Registry?
  • Which engagement and communication modalities result in greater awareness, knowledge, acceptance of COVID-19 prevention, testing, treatment, and research?
  • Which engagement and communication modalities result in greater enrollment in COVID-19 trials?
  • Which communication modalities present the fewest barriers to implementation?
How can I get involved?

If you are a community-based organization that would like to partner with us to reduce disparities in COVID-19 testing, treatment, vaccination, and participation in clinical trials, please reach out to our Community Outreach Engagement Specialist, Donald Young at