(October 2021) Donald Nease, MD, a professor in the Department of Family Medicine, is the principal investigator on a $1.4 million National Institutes of Health-funded project to combat vaccine misinformation and increase participation in COVID-related clinical trials among communities of color.
As part of a $29 million nationwide NIH initiative called the Community Engagement Alliance (CEAL) Against COVID-19 Disparities program, Nease and his team are working with Servicios de la Raza, the Trailhead Institute, Salud Family Health Center, Immunize Colorado, and other organizations to educate communities of color about the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines.
“We have established relationships with five different communities around the state, and we have hired community connectors to bring people to the table,” says Nease, who is working with the School of Medicine’s Colorado Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute on the initiative.
“We bring in a medical expert to give them all the science about COVID and the vaccines, and over a period of about eight weeks we will work with each of those groups of community members to figure out, ‘What are the factoids or bits of knowledge that are most important for your community to hear that are going to help move the dial on vaccination rates? Who needs to hear that information? Who are the folks that might be influencers or trusted channels of communication in your community, and what are the best ways to get it out?
In addition to acting on those suggestions, the CU CEAL team will administer surveys in each community to uncover additional questions, concerns, and reasons behind vaccine hesitancy.