RADx: Identifying COVID-19 Disparities

Many communities across the United States are facing more difficulties than others as they confront the COVID-19 pandemic. RADx-UP is working to help those communities most impacted by COVID-19 across the nation.

This initiative is vital to improving the health of our marginalized communities and we believe that we can help them achieve their goals faster by using our community to help spread the word to those who are hard to reach.

RADx-UP is researching COVID-19 testing patterns in communities across the country and data on disparities in infection rates, disease progression and outcomes. RADx-UP is also developing strategies to reduce disparities in COVID-19 testing by supporting projects across the country with established community partnerships. Phase I of RADx-UP includes the funding of 70 plus community-engaged projects.  One of their specific focus areas include establishing multiple clinical research sites across the country to evaluate, in real-time, a variety of testing methods in specific populations, areas, and settings. This initiative also includes encouraging collaboration between the program sites and the community — tribal health centers, houses of worship, homeless shelters, and prison systems — to identify and address their unique needs.

In light of COVID-19 inequities in the Deep South including escalating rates of illnesses and death in Alabama, researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, along with community partners, Connection Health, AHEC, NOWINCLUDED and other partners collaborated to meet the evolving needs of the community. Together, they are Alabama United.

These organizations have joined forces because of how vital they are to improving the health of our marginalized communities. Together, we believe that we can achieve goals faster by using our community to help spread the word to those who are hard to reach.

RADx-UP will also develop testing strategies to apply the technological advances emerging from the various RADx efforts in real-world settings, such as distributing home diagnostic kits.

The program is occurring in two phases. The first phase focuses on communities with established research infrastructures and partnerships to understand COVID-19 testing patterns, and implement strategies or interventions with the potential to rapidly increase reach, access, acceptance, uptake, and sustainment of FDA-authorized/approved diagnostics among vulnerable populations in geographic locations that are underserved. With extensive investment in the development and validation of new testing technologies, NIH anticipates significant changes in the landscape of testing and diagnostic approaches, as well as shifts in the pandemic itself over the next several months. Phase II of the RADx-UP initiative will be released in the future to address developments for future community-engaged research.

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