Increasing Understanding of and Participation in Contact Tracing

“Together our Impact Is Greater” is front-and-center in the CDC Foundation’s tagline because it encapsulates our core mission of mobilizing philanthropic and private-sector resources to advance public health. 

It is not surprising that during the COVID-19 pandemic response, coalitions involving the public and private sector, as well as the philanthropic community, are proving critical. 

That is certainly the case with the newest initiative of the Foundation—the Community COVID Coalition—which brings together the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) to support state efforts to educate diverse communities about effective public health interventions for slowing the spread of COVID-19. 

Support for the coalition comes from Facebook which is playing a role in this public-private partnership to ensure states have the resources they need to combat COVID-19. 

The initial work of the Coalition will focus on communications in support of contact tracing. A core public health tool that has been used successfully for decades, contact tracing is now being deployed across the nation to slow the spread of COVID- 19. 

However, in many areas, response rates to contact tracers among those testing positive for COVID-19 are low. Research shows there is a lack of understanding about the role of contact tracing in reducing the spread of COVID-19.

To address these barriers, the coalition offers participating states targeted, culturally relevant social media resources developed and tested by public health communications experts. The resources are educational and include information about what contact tracing is, and how contact tracing can be used to stop the spread of COVID-19; why individuals should participate in contact tracing efforts; and the basics of what individuals should expect if they are contacted. 

Participating states also receive donated advertising space to use on Facebook platforms to ensure messages are effectively reaching key audiences.

The Community COVID Coalition is one important way that, together, we are working to ensure we provide the greatest impact and support for front-line response efforts.

We invite you to learn more about this initiative at

Julie Scofield is a project director for the CDC Foundation.