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Morgan CARES

Partner Projects

Community Engagement ALliance (CEAL)

The DMV/MSU CEAL2’s overarching goal is to support research on awareness, education, misinformation, and mistrust around SARS-CoV-2 and new variant infections. Part of this was done by our ambassadors administering 125 surveys to a sample of Baltimore city residents while educating them about vaccine acceptance and uptake. All surveys were successfully completed.

Additionally, the MSU CEAL2 project team has supported community partners in their role to engage underserved communities in meaningful activities that support SDOH, as well as the promotion of vaccine acceptance and uptake.

Through this community partnership and engagement, the MSU CEAL2 project has successfully completed the following:

       Our community partner, Paul’s Place was able to hire (1) full-time nurse, as well as obtain the University of Maryland at Baltimore student nurses to assist with extensive triage services while assessing COVID-19 vaccination uptake. This new nurse and students supported a significant increase in patient encounters from 35 to 73, respectively.

       Two of our community partners, Union Baptist Church, and the Family Tree collaborated in the recruitment and development of parenting classes for underserved parenting communities within Baltimore city. The program offered four incentivized sessions. Rev. Montgomery recruited parents from Union Baptist Church, Head Start, Baltimore City Schools, and Baltimore Connect Collaborative. Ms. Barger was able to obtain a facilitator for the virtual hour-long classes, in which 22 parents participated.

       The internal CEAL2 team has consistently produced and shared our newsletter which highlights and updates COVID-19 information. Additionally, Nurse Feijoo has provided extensive presentations about the most recent updates on COVID-19 for our partners. For example, the sharing of both mediums has supported the Hillen Road Improvement Association’s branding and marketing of the CEAL2 project as well as COVID-19 updates. To date, the Hillen Road Improvement Association have shared over 2500 flyers among the newly revitalized Northwood Plaza Center, and Northwood community members, as well as their organization website.   

Strategically-Focused Research Network (SFRN)

The American Heart Association has announced an additional $4 million grant to add a sixth scientific research center bringing its total funding to its Strategically-Focused Research Network (SFRN) on the Science of Diversity in Clinical Trials to $24 million.

As a result, Morgan State University and Morgan CARES will be participating in a new project, in partnership with Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland to engage diverse and underrepresented groups in cardiovascular clinical research activities. This project will test various recruitment methods to see which is more effective in supporting enrollment. There will also be an online database, The Cardiovascular Research Learning Community, to include community-focused events and outreach in order to regain the trust of these underserved communities.


CONNECT stands for Developing a learning COmmunity to increase eNgagemeNt and Enrollment in cardiovascular Clinical Trials, and the project aims to develop a participant-centered research community.  Women and particular racial/ethnic groups are underrepresented in cardiovascular (CV) clinical research. Generational trauma, discrimination, and lack of meaningful engagement contribute to the discomfort and mistrust felt by certain communities as it relates to research. This project’s focus is to increase diversity in CV clinical trials by understanding and addressing the barriers and facilitators to participation. Focusing on women, Latinx, and Black adults, the CONNECT team will build relationships with community members, stakeholders, and organizations and work with the Community Research Council. CONNECT will develop and evaluate the effectiveness of various community-oriented recruitment and engagement strategies. The project’s overarching goals are critical steps to ensuring clinical trial results can inform care for all people. 

CONNECT is a project under the Johns Hopkins Impact Center which is a collaboration between the Johns Hopkins University Schools of Medicine, Nursing, and Public Health, and Business; Morgan State University; University of Vermont; and Beth Israel Lahey Health. The project’s Co-Principal Investigators include Dr. Payam Sheikhattari, MD, MPH (Director of Morgan CARES), Dr. Cheryl Dennison Himmelfarb, PhD, RN, FAHA (Deputy Director of the Johns Hopkins Institute for Clinical and Translational Research Community and Collaboration Core and Recruitment Innovation Unit), Dr. Hailey Miller, PhD, RN (Assistant Professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing), and Mr. John Shaia (Director of Youth Programs at Banner Neighborhoods Community). 

Acknowledgments: This work is supported by a grant from the American Heart Association, Award #953559. Morgan State University has received a subaward from Johns Hopkins University.