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 

Caroline Compretta, PhDCaroline 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.   

Michael Hall, MDMichael Hall, MD

Dr. Hall is a clinical cardiologist at UMMC, with a research focus on obesity-induced Cardiorenal dysfunction and heart failure. In addition to his role as the Director of Clinical and Population Studies for the MCCTR, Dr. Hall serves as Associate Vice-Chair for Research for the Department of Medicine, Associate Division Director for the Division of Cardiovascular Diseases, and Associate Cardiology Fellowship Program Director.  

Victor Sutton, PhDVictor 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.