NIMHD Funds Vaccine Hesitancy Research With a Focus on COVID-19

The National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) recently awarded five research grants to address vaccine hesitancy, uptake, and implementation among populations who experience health disparities. A total of $14.5 million has been committed over five years for these five grants, subject to available funds. Over $3.67 million has been provided by the Office of the Director, National Institutes of Health, to fund the first year of these grants.

These awards prioritize SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) vaccination uptake among adults. A disproportionate number of racial and ethnic minorities in the U.S. are dying from COVID-19 related complications. Additionally, there are vaccination disparities and challenges associated with vaccination and uptake among racial and ethnic minorities. Research is needed to understand and address misinformation, distrust, and hesitancy in these populations who are at increased risk for morbidity and mortality.

Specific objectives of this funding effort are to:

  • Evaluate interventions to facilitate equitable vaccination uptake in clinical and community contexts
  • Address barriers to reach, access, acceptance, and vaccine completion among populations that experience health disparities

The grantees will utilize strong community engaged research approaches through collaborative partnerships with key stakeholders such as community partners, leaders, and knowledge holders. They will also leverage community resources and local service delivery settings to enhance vaccine access, delivery, uptake, and community benefit.

The award recipients are:

University of California, San Diego
Project 2VIDA! SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine Intervention Delivery for Adults in Southern California
PI: Argentina Servin

1R01 MD016872-01 – Researchers will examine and address challenges in COVID-19 vaccination uptake among Latinx and African American communities across six highly affected communities in Southeast San Diego by using a community-based participatory research (CBPR) approach.

University of Massachusetts Medical School
Trusted Messengers: Supporting Physicians in Promoting COVID-19 Vaccination
PI: Kimberly Fisher

1R01 MD016883-01 – Researchers will assess the role of trusted messengers, such as primary care providers (PCPs) and community organizations, in increasing the uptake of the COVID-19 vaccine, particularly for the most hesitant groups.

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
A Multidimensional Digital Approach to Address Vaccine Hesitancy and Increase COVID-19 Vaccine Uptake among African American Young Adults in the South
PIs: Lisa B. Hightow-Weidman and Henna Budhwani

1R01 MD016834-01 – Researchers will utilize a digital health intervention strategy to target African American young adults (AA-YA), ages 18-29 in three southern states. They will combine validated vaccine hesitancy survey measures, with novel CBPR methods including choose-your-own adventure journeys and digital storytelling to better understand vaccine decision-making in AA-YA.

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor
Community-Centered Interventions for Improved Vaccine Uptake for COVID (CIVIC)
PIs: Erica Marsh and Ken Resnicow

1R01 MD016867-01 – Researchers will partner with faith-based organizations and using a CBPR approach, they will leverage long term relationships with the community, the resources and networks of the University of Michigan CTSA (MICHR), a CBPR steering committee developed and the knowledge gained as a Community Engagement Alliance (CEAL) grant recipient, and the expertise of academic partners to identify and understand factors that contribute to COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy in African American and Latinx communities. Researchers will focus on four counties in Michigan that have suffered a disproportionate burden from COVID-19: Wayne, Genesee, Kent and Washtenaw Counties.

Northeastern University
Community-based Design and Evaluation of a Conversational Agent to Promote SARS-CoV-2 Vaccination in Black Churches
PIs: Timothy Bickmore, Michael Paasche-Orlow, and Andrea Parker

1R01 MD016882-01 – Researchers will collaborate with the Black Ministerial Alliance TenPoint (BMATP) in Boston to understand barriers to vaccination in general, and SARS-CoV-2 and influenza vaccination in particular. They will adapt smartphone-based embodied conversational agents (ECAs) to promote SARS-CoV-2 and influenza vaccination and work with members of the BMATP communities to identify sources and the nature of misinformation—including distrust of public health organizations, safety concerns, and limited knowledge—and engage them to co-develop strategies to address these barriers.

Page updated June 4, 2021