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Educational animation featuring Soul Queen Irma Thomas produced by Tulane public health and medicine grads

Screen capture of opening image for educational animation about clinical trials.


Addressing misinformation about COVID-19 and clinical studies is an ongoing process for both The Louisiana Community Engagement Alliance against COVID-19 Disparities (LA-CEAL), a state-wide consortium of community and academic institutions including Tulane, and NoiseFilter, a health education podcast and animation series. The two groups recently joined forces to produce an educational animation about clinical trials which features local soul recording artist Irma Thomas.

For this animation LA-CEAL, led by academic partners at Tulane University and Xavier University of Louisiana and funded by the National Institutes of Health, aims to educate communities of color about clinical trials. This short video, titled Clinical Trials: The Heart and Soul of Science, explains how clinical trials work, illustrates the pervasiveness of clinical trials in our daily lives, and addresses the history of structural racism in medicine. To help share this narrative, the video features beloved New Orleans icon Irma Thomas, who has been dubbed “The Soul Queen of New Orleans.”

Tulane University's Dr. M.A. Krousel-Wood, LA-CEAL's lead investigator, notes, "This creative video explaining clinical research at a local, relevant level illustrates the value of community-academic partners working together to address challenging public health and clinical issues." Krousel-Wood is a professor of epidemiology in the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and associate provost for the health sciences.

"Health communicators must find creative ways to explain complicated public health issues," emphasizes Dr. MarkAlain Déry host at NoiseFilter. "Animation is an innovative tool that can help alleviate confusion, whether the topic is COVID-19 vaccines, masking or even clinical trials. We're so honored that Irma Thomas is helping us share this story." Dery conducted his 2008 internal medicine fellowship at Tulane Medical Center.

Irma Thomas is featured alongside the doctors in this video, bridging music and medicine to emphasize how clinical trials move society forward. Thomas describes the importance of clinical studies for future generations, "I want the best medical care for my grandkids so they can live long healthy lives."

The animation also addresses the underrepresentation of minority communities in clinical trials, an imbalance which can lead to negative health outcomes. David Roston, a 2018 MPH graduate in health education and communications, helped produce the video. 

"If the medical community wants to regain the trust of black and brown people," says Dr. Eric “Doc” Griggs from NoiseFilter, "we need to represent them in our messaging and take accountability." Griggs is a 1996 graduate of the Tulane Medical School. 

To view this video online and for more educational videos and information about NoiseFilter, visit

For more information about LA-CEAL and the NIH Community Engagement Alliance initiative, visit and