NIH Community Alliance (CEAL) Against COVID-19 Disparities

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About CEAL

The Community Engagement Alliance (CEAL) Against COVID-19 Disparities is an NIH-funded initiative that seeks to accomplish the following objectives:  

  1. Conduct urgent community-engaged research and outreach focused on COVID-19 awareness and education to address widespread misinformation about COVID-19 and promote an evidence-based response to the disease.  
  2. Promote and facilitate inclusion of diverse racial and ethnic populations in COVID-19 clinical trials, reflective of the populations disproportionately affected by the pandemic.

CEAL is an NIH-wide effort, led by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) and that National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). Mississippi is one of 11 states participating in the CEAL initiative, and the Mississippi CEAL team includes researchers from University of Mississippi Medical Center, the Mississippi State Department of Health, Tougaloo College, and the University of Southern Mississippi. Descriptions of the various initiatives led by Mississippi CEAL Team members can be found here. Additional information about national CEAL efforts can be found here.  

CEAL Leadership 

Portrait of Dr. Caroline ComprettaCaroline Compretta, PhD

Dr. Compretta, a trained medical anthropologist, is an Assistant Professor in the departments of Preventive Medicine and Pediatrics, and Core Faculty in the Center for Bioethics and Medical Humanities at UMMC. Dr. Compretta also serves as the Co-Director of the Mississippi Center for Clinical and Translational Research (MCCTR) Community Engaged Research Core. Her research focuses on chronic disease health promotion and risk reduction, and her work specifically highlights community perspectives on issues such as healthcare access, social determinants of health, health literacy, and equity. She has conducted community-based research for over 20 years and is currently the Principal Investigator or Co-Investigator for several studies examining the social determinants of chronic disease with families living in resource-limited Mississippi communities.   

Gailen Marshall, MD

Gailen Marshall, MD, PhD

Dr. Marshall is the R. Faser Triplett Chair of Allergy and Immunology; Professor of Medicine, Pediatrics, Pathology, and Population Health Sciences; Vice Chair for Research in the Department of Medicine; Director of the Division of Allergy, Asthma, and Clinical Immunology; Executive Director of the Mississippi Clinical Research and Trials Center; and Medical Director for UMMC’s Clinical Research and Trials Unit. He is also the site PI for the NIH-funded RECOVER study to phenotype patients with post acute sequelae of COVID (PASC), also known as "long haul COVID."

Victor Sutton, PhD

Victor Sutton, PhD

Dr. Sutton directs the Mississippi State Department of Health’s Office of Preventive Health and Health Equity and is Principal Investigator of the NHLBI-funded Jackson Heart Study Community Engagement Center and the CDC-funded Mississippi Delta Health Collaborative. Dr. Sutton is nationally recognized for his work in chronic disease prevention and health promotion, community engagement, and health equity.