Drs. Hala Madanat, Susan Kiene and Eyal Oren, along with an expansive team of Public Health researchers and practitioners across disciplines have partnered with nine community organizations to improve COVID-19 testing in systemically marginalized communities. San Diego State University was among 32 institutions awarded $5 million by the National Institutes of Health as part of the Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx) initiative. RADx was created to address racial inequities heightened by COVID-19 primarily in the Black and Latinx communities; including inadequate access to testing seen across San Diego County.
Some of the community partners include Alliance Health Clinic, Casa Familia and the San Diego County Promotores Coalition who, along with other community partners, will identify, evaluate and refine strategies to improve testing and outreach efforts. SDSU’s approach will focus on testing contacts and family members as well as creating pop-up sites across San Diego areas with the highest need for increased access to COVID-19 testing. Mobile testing will support in bridging access gaps and in identifying asymptomatic spreaders before further outbreaks occur. The research team hopes that community engagement will yield improved outreach to achieve over 40,000 tests in the span of 14 months, and pave the way for equitable access to a COVID-19 vaccine once it becomes available.