Miami CTSI

NIH Award Supports Community Engagement Alliance (CEAL) Against COVID-19 Disparities


Olveen Carrasquillo, M.D., M.P.H., Erin Kobetz, Ph.D., M.P.H., Victoria Behar-Zusman, Ph.D.

Leaders from the Miami CTSI’s Community & Stakeholder Engagement Program and its Institutional Executive Committee are part of a new statewide coalition of academic partners and investigators who have joined together to promote outreach efforts in Florida communities hardest hit by COVID-19.

The coalition, named the Community Engagement Alliance Against COVID-19 Disparities or CEAL Team, is supported by a National Institutes of Health (NIH) award that expands existing community outreach and engagement efforts already underway by NIH COVID-19 trial networks.

Studies show that Latinos and Blacks are overrepresented among cases of and deaths from COVID-19 in Florida and nationally.

The disproportionate toll COVID-19 has had on communities of color is why the CEAL Team will work swiftly to launch its outreach efforts to help reduce the impact of the virus.

The Florida coalition will leverage its collaborative community partnerships and use community-engaged strategies to enhance COVID-19 awareness and education and to promote access and inclusion of underserved communities in COVID-19 health studies.

To learn more about CEAL, read the NIH’s announcement here.

The Florida CEAL Team includes partners from Florida International University, the University of Florida, Florida A&M University, Moffitt Cancer Center and Health Choice Network. The principal investigators from the University of Miami are:

Olveen Carrasquillo, M.D., M.P.H.
Miami CTSI Community & Stakeholder Engagement Program Director
Professor, Department of Medicine and Public Health Sciences
Chief, Division of General Internal Medicine, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine

Erin Kobetz, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Miami CTSI Community & Stakeholder Engagement Program Director
Vice Provost for Research
Professor, Departments of Medicine, Public Health Sciences, and Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine
Associate Director of Population Science and Cancer Disparities, Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center (SCCC)
Chief of Population Health and Cancer Disparities, UHealth Oncology Service line

Victoria Behar-Zusman, Ph.D.
Member, Miami CTSI Institutional Executive Committee
Professor, School of Nursing and Health Studies, University of Miami
PI, Center for Latino Health Research Opportunities (CLaRO)

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