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CTSI Investigators Receive NIH RADxUP Award to Address Underserved Populations During COVID Pandemic



UCLA CTSI News Archive

Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science

Drs. Sheba George and Omolola Ogunyemi.

Drs. Sheba George and Omolola Ogunyemi, both researchers from Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science (CDU), recently received an award through the NIH Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics for Underserved Populations Initiative (RADx UP) for Social, Ethical and Behavioral Implications (SEBI). George is a leader of the CTSI Network Capacity Program and investigator in the Community and Engagement Research Program, and Ogunyemi is a leader of the CTSI Informatics Program.

The overarching goal of the RADx-UP initiative is to understand the factors associated with disparities in COVID-19 morbidity and mortality and to lay the foundation to reduce disparities for those underserved and vulnerable populations who are disproportionately affected by, have the highest infection rates of, and/or are most at risk for complications or poor outcomes from the COVID-19 pandemic.

CDU’s RADx UP SEBI project, “A Community Health Worker (CHW) Intervention to Identify and Decrease Barriers to Pre-Procedural COVID-19 Testing Among Los Angeles County Department of Health Safety-Net Patients” aims to train CHWs from underserved communities in order to effectively address increasing COVID-19 testing in these populations. This process facilitates procedural care for health safety-net patients within Los Angeles and develops a sustained public health presence in communities to build trust and preparedness for critical future health needs. These strategies are also intended to bolster the ability to delineate methods to deliver COVID-19 vaccines when they become available. 

This project is a supplement to Ogunyemi’s NEI grant for “Predicting Diabetic Retinopathy from Risk Factor Data and Digital Retinal Images” and George is the project lead for the COVID-19 supplement.