Taking on COVID-19 at Meharry Medical College

Working together toward a safe and healthy future

At Meharry Medical College, health and well-being are at the forefront of what we do. Our COVID-19 programs and activities are designed to be a catalyst that helps community members stay safe and healthy.

Join with us in bringing about positive change and reducing the impact of COVID-19 in our communities.

We recognize that staying healthy is more than simply receiving medical care. That’s why at Meharry, we:

COVID testing• Work with Metro Nashville government to manage the city’s free COVID-19 drive-through testing sites.

• Work with community partners to provide weekend COVID-19 testing at area churches and other locations.

• Distribute accurate health information about how to protect yourself, your loved ones, friends and neighbors during the COVID-19 pandemic

• Assist interested persons to enroll in research, including COVID-19 vaccine trials.

• Work collaboratively with our community partners to better understand the most effective strategies for preventing and treating COVID-19 among African Americans, Latinx and other vulnerable populations.

In response to COVID-19, Meharry seeks to:

• Increase access to culturally sensitive health care.

• Provide accurate prevention and treatment information to African American, Latinx and other vulnerable populations.

• Ensure that high-quality resources are available, especially to the communities we serve.

• Provide access to accurate and culturally sensitive health promotion information.

• Work with Metro Nashville to provide free COVID-19 testing at one of the three Meharry-run assessment sites or through our mobile clinic.

• Provide culturally and linguistically appropriate primary care and inpatient services for patients who need it.

• Link patients to community resources to help them and their families address both personal challenges as well as social inequities they may be experiencing.

• Provide opportunities for community partners to engage in research studies that will help us learn how to best address COVID-19.

Mobile ClinicWith Metro Nashville, Meharry currently operates three, drive through COVID-19 testing sites across the county.

We also work with community partners to host COVID-19 testing at their locations on Saturdays through our mobile clinic.

Contact us to learn more about our commitment to this cause.

Doctor giving vaccineAt Meharry Medical College, we are dedicated to stepping up our efforts to address the pandemic, and through cooperation and community empowerment we can rise to the challenge.

We anticipate that multiple COVID-19 vaccines will be widely available by the middle of 2021, but even after a vaccine becomes available, we must not let down our guard. We must continue to wear masks, wash hands and social distance until the scientists and health professionals tell us different.

To prepare for a vaccine, we must become more knowledgeable about the differences in vaccine candidates, how to determine which one may be best for each of us, and where and how to get them.

In addition, some may wish to participate in COVID-19 vaccine trials to help us better understand barriers to following CDC guidelines, treatment, and vaccine access, and reduce the burden the virus is having, especially among black, brown and other vulnerable persons.

We are always striving to make a difference, and invite you to learn more and lend your support.

Your participation in the COVID-19 vaccine trials is important.

If you’re interested in being a part of the trials, fill out the brief form below and we’ll get back to you, or contact Dr. Rajbir Singh at rsingh@mmc.edu or (615) 327-6820

COVID-19 Vaccine Trial

  • Please provide your name and the best way to contact you.

Primary Care Services: Compassionate health providers

Checking blood pressureIt will take a comprehensive and coordinated effort to overcome COVID-19.

We believe we can overcome historical disparities in health care access and outcomes through community cooperation and empowerment.

Meharry provides compassionate health care through Meharry Medical Group and its primary care clinics and through Nashville General Hospital for those who need to be hospitalized.

Meharry is always working to make a difference.

Food Insecurity: Helping The Community

Through Meharry’s COVID-19 initiative, our goal is to promote the care of the vulnerable and their loved ones and friends in need.

Meharrians are working every day to help those who are struggling with social inequities, such as food insecurity.

With access to the right resources, everyone can become empowered by strengthening their own abilities and gaining the confidence to fulfill their potential.

Learn more about our work by getting in touch with our team today.

The TN CEAL program seeks to increase knowledge and awareness about COVID-19, COVID-19 testing, and COVID-19 vaccine readiness.

It also seeks to assist persons who are interested in participating in a COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial.

With this statewide initiative, our goal is to promote community awareness about all things COVID

With academic-community partnerships in West, Central and East Tennessee, we seek to enroll persons in a research project that tests the best ways to promote COVID-19 messaging to vulnerable populations.

To learn more about our work by getting in touch with our team today.

Find out more by contacting us.


Dr. Paul Juarez

Paul D. Juarez, Ph.D.

Principal Investigator

Dr. Juarez is PI of the Tennessee Community-Engaged Alliance against COVID-19 (TN CEAL) grant. The TN CEAL team includes academic/community partnerships in West, Central and East Tennessee. Its aims are to conduct research that promotes the health of vulnerable populations in response to COVID-19, increase community preparedness for a COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available and to increase awareness and promote participation of vulnerable populations in COVID-19 clinical trials.

Dr. Rajbir Singh

Rajbir Singh, M.D.

Director of Clinical and Translational Research

Dr. Rajbir Singh, Director of the college’s Clinical and Translational Research Center, said Meharry’s primary mission — education — includes Operation Warp Speed to provide Americans with a safe and effective vaccine to protect them against COVID-19.

Dr. Singh is co-investigator with Dr. Berthaud and serves as Meharry’s contact person for volunteers.

Meharry seeks to enroll approximately 300 people willing to help test the medicine. Enrollment is October-February.

“Our target is to enroll at least 25 per week,” Singh said. Many have expressed interest in receiving an injection of one of those vaccines during Meharry’s clinical trials.

Volunteers may contact Singh at (615) 327-6820 or rsingh@mmc.edu.

Dr. Vladimir Berthaud

Vladimir Berthaud, M.D.

Infectious Disease

Dr. Berthaud is recruiting patients for a clinical trial site he oversees in Nashville. His goal is to enroll more than 300 people of color. Berthaud, who is Black and from Haiti, appeals to his patients’ sense of duty.

“If you don’t have enough people like you in those vaccine trials, you will not know if it works for you,” he told them. “You will not know.”

For most of the current coronavirus vaccine trials, recruitment mainly takes place online — which often results in mostly white people enrolling.

That’s why Meharry researchers are wooing Black patients with a personal invitation. They’re now recruiting for the phase 3 trials underway now. Meharry’s first trial, for a vaccine candidate by Novavax, launched in October 2020.

Stephanie Miller Hughes

Stephania Miller-Hughes, Ph.D.

Director, RCMI Community Engagement Core

Dr. Miller-Hughes works to engage community partners in our research. Using a community-based participatory research process, Dr. Miller-Hughes invites community partners to participate in all stages of research, to ensure the research reflects community norms and addresses any issues that may arise.


Neelie Williams, Ed.D.

Director, Community Partners

Dr. Williams has an extensive history of working with both research teams and community organizations to ensure the voices of underrepresented partners are understood.


Meharry President James E.K. Hildreth, Ph.D., M.D. on the pandemic

Handwashing & T-zones

Transmission & masks

The importance of testing


Vaccine risks
& trials

Race, COVID-19 & vaccines


Lingering effects of the disease

Flu season & COVID-19

Immunity after recovery?

Blood types & COVID-19

Mixed messages in the news

Advice for spiritual leaders