The Institute, NYU and Mount Sinai researchers target COVID-19 disparities

posted by

Sophia Guida

The Institute, NYU and Mount Sinai researchers target COVID-19 disparities

May 28, 2021

A team of Institute researchers will work closely with similar teams from the NYU Grossman School of Medicine and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai to increase COVID-19 vaccine access and acceptance in New York City. Their work will focus on communities of color that were disproportionately affected by COVID-19, but where vaccination rates are low. Support for this initiative comes from the National Institutes of Health Community Engagement Alliance (CEAL), which is providing $29 million to support similar projects in 19 states, Puerto Rico and the DC-metro area.

The researchers will work with community partners to analyze and address barriers to COVID-19 vaccine access in communities that saw high COVID-19 numbers. These community partners will set up vaccine pop-up events open to the public, and develop culturally appropriate messaging in multiple languages about the COVID-19 vaccine. Researchers will also investigate ways to ensure that these same communities can have access to participation in large-scale clinical trials.

Using established networks through our Bronx Health REACH, Immigrant Health Initiative, and Health Justice Network programs, the Institute is uniquely positioned to facilitate these researcher-community relationships and outreach efforts. As a federally qualified health center network, the Institute is a longstanding health service provider in the communities in New York that faced the highest COVID-19 rates and lowest vaccine uptake.

Dr. Neil Calman, president and CEO of the Institute, and a co-principal investigator for the project, said, “This is an incredible opportunity to provide community members with the information they need to make decisions about receiving the vaccine, and to translate lessons learned from the community to the researchers and from the researchers back to the community. We are proud to have the opportunity to participate.”

In a statement from the National Institutes of Health, Catherine Stoney, Ph.D., the CEAL Alliance program lead, said, “The power of community-engaged partnerships extends beyond state borders. The CEAL Alliance provides a central research hub where findings from one region may inform or guide best practices in another.”  The National Institutes of Health CEAL initiative receives its support through the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act.