The FIU-RCMI Community Engagement Alliance (CEAL) against COVID-19

The Community Engagement Alliance (CEAL) project was a state- and nation-wide project studying the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on disproportionately affected communities.

The CEAL’s mission was to harness community-engaged efforts to disseminate correct information about COVID-19 vaccines, with a focus on diversity and inclusion. The individual CEAL teams work closely together with their community partners to help the hardest-hit communities in their vicinity. Currently, CEAL teams are active in 21 U.S. states.

The Florida CEAL project, led by Dr. Olveen Carrasquillo at the University of Miami, specifically focuses on Florida’s underserved communities. The FL CEAL included 6 partners across the state: FIU-RCMI, UM, FSU, FAMU, Health Choice Network, and the Mayo Clinic, each focusing on a different geographical area and community. The goals of the project included increasing awareness, vaccine education, diversity, and inclusion in vaccine trials, increase vaccine literacy and reduce vaccine hesitancy. The FIU-RCMI FLCEAL team’s goals were to collect surveys and conduct focus groups to investigate vaccine hesitancy among underserved South Floridian communities. The project was funded by the NIH (800013960), and the RCMI is funded by the NIMHD (U54MD012393).

Principal Investigators:

  • Eric Wagner, Ph.D.
  • Adriana Campa, Ph.D., MBA


  • Michelle Hospital, Ph.D.
  • Staci Leon Morris, Psy.D.

Program Coordinator:

News Articles and Websites:


  • Carrasquillo, O., Kobetz-Kerman, E., Behar-Zusman, V., Dominguez, S., Rosa, M. D., Bastida, E., … & Long, T. (2021). 46213 Florida Community-Engaged Research Alliance Against COVID-19 in Disproportionately Affected Communities (FL-CEAL): addressing education, awareness, access, and inclusion of underserved communities in COVID-19 research. Journal of Clinical and Translational Science5(s1), 80-81.
  • Rubin, R. (2021). NIH Addresses COVID-19 Disparities. JAMA325(24), 2426-2426.