Renewed NIH grant helps researchers and local partners address barriers to testing and vaccination.
With $1.4 million in new grant support from the NIH, Brown University researchers and local community organizations are working to address barriers to COVID-19 testing and vaccination among the Latinx population as well as high-risk children in Rhode Island.
The project is designed to address disparities in access to health care in the US brought to the forefront by the COVID-19 pandemic. Underserved communities, including Hispanic and Latinx populations, tend to have lower rates of vaccinations even in a state like Rhode Island, whose rates are higher than the US average.
“As we are anticipating that vaccinations will soon be available and FDA-approved for children, this project is extremely timely,” says project leader Sharon Rounds, MD, associate dean for clinical affairs and a professor of medicine. At the same time, testing remains an essential tool in addressing outbreaks, she says.
Both projects have launched and will be funded for up to two years.
The funds are part of an initiative aimed at reducing disparities in underserved populations, who are disproportionately affected by COVID-19. The overarching goal of the NIH’s Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics for Underserved Populations (RADx-UP) initiative is to understand and improve the factors that place a disproportionate burden on vulnerable groups.
The new funding marks the second phase of RADx-UP in partnership with Progreso Latino, a nonprofit that serves Rhode Island’s Latinx and immigrant communities, and the Rhode Island Quality Institute, which collects and analyzes health care data from across the state.