NIH Community Engagement Alliance Featured in Special Issue of American Journal of Public Health

The American Journal of Public Health has released a special supplement, Leveraging the Power of Communities During Public Health Emergencies, featuring 25 editorials and papers that discuss community-engaged research during the COVID-19 pandemic. Developed in collaboration with NIH CEAL, this comprehensive collection spans various topics such as crafting effective community needs assessments and surveys to shape localized COVID-19 mitigation strategies and strategies for cultivating and preserving community trust.

“[CEAL] is an NIH-wide program established early during the COVID-19 pandemic. The mission of CEAL then and now is to provide trustworthy, science-based information through meaningful community engagement and bidirectional outreach to people who have been the hardest hit by the pandemic,” said Dr. George Mensah, Director of the Center for Translation Research and Implementation Science at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, one of the CEAL Co-leads and a guest editor for the supplement. “With the end of the public health emergency, we can now take the lessons learned from the COVID era and use meaningful community engagement, community participatory research, and dissemination and implementation research approaches to make sure that all individuals can live fulfilling lives to their best potential in thriving communities.”

The supplement includes other studies that explore:  

  • The impact of expanding organizational capacity on community members' engagement with COVID-19 protective measures. 
  • How the NIH established a consultative resource, offering targeted consultations to NIH-funded researchers to address health disparities and champion inclusive participation. 
  • The barriers and opportunities to engage African American community members in clinical research.
  • A more equitable and accessible data reporting model.

Originating as part of the federal response to the COVID-19 pandemic, NIH CEAL has evolved since its inception in 2020. Beyond its initial focus, it now supports community-engaged research in maternal health, climate health, health knowledge, and primary care. The overarching mission of CEAL remains steadfast: to promote health equity, improve health outcomes, and strengthen community partnerships to address health disparities.

Read the special AJPH supplement, Leveraging the Power of Communities During Public Health Emergencies

Read the AJPH press release

AJPH Cover