The National Institutes of Health yesterday awarded $12 million to non-profit research institution RTI International for outreach and engagement efforts in ethnic and racial minority communities that have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. RTI will support teams in 11 states focusing on COVID-19 awareness and educational research among African American, Hispanic and Latinx, and American Indian communities through NIH’s Community Engagement Alliance (CEAL) Against COVID-19 Disparities.

CEAL, an NIH-wide effort led by the National Institute on Minority Health and Disparities and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, will leverage established relationships between NIH-funded researchers and local community-engaged leaders to help reach underserved communities. In addition, RTI will promote and facilitate these groups’ inclusion and participation in vaccine and therapeutic clinical trials to prevent and treat COVID-19.

In an April 16 letter to the Department of Health and Human Services, the AHA, American Medical Association, and American Nurses Association urged Secretary Alex Azar to “employ the resources of NIMHD…to research and develop approaches to specifically address the COVID-19 needs of minority populations.”

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