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Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics Initiative-Underserved Populations

RADxUP MHRC Logos v2

At the start of the pandemic, Dr. Mona Fouad received funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics Initiative-Underserved Populations (RADx-UP) program. Since then, the team has brought its community-based testing model to Jefferson County. Powered by the UAB Minority Health & Health Disparities Research Center (MHRC), the purpose of the study was to test a three-pronged approach consisting of robust pre-testing community engagement and communication to improve reach and acceptability; targeted mobile testing in underserved neighborhoods to increase access; and culturally appropriate post-testing navigation/assistance and follow-up services to ensure better impact and health outcomes.

Leveraging the MHRC's Community Engagement team, RADx-UP has been able to partner with 15 organizations—consisting of churches, city government, and public housing sites—to host 46 successful testing events with over 1,000 people tested for COVID-19.

RADx UP Infographic V2

Melissa Ryan, MSHQS, Program Manager II for the UAB MHRC explains, "People turn to their pastors and they trust them. So, having a pastor who is willing to lend us their church and say to their congregation, 'This is a good source of information. This is a great place to get tested and vaccinated. You will not be taken advantage of. They're here to help.' has been really beneficial. They have these preexisting community engagement strategies, too. They've allowed us access to places that we wouldn't normally have access to."

Vaccine Hesitancy Intervention Toolkit

RadX up Webpage Toolkit v2In August 2021, the MHRC received additional funding to explore COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy in Jefferson County, Alabama. Our research indicates that healthcare providers and faith leaders are trusted voices for the vaccine, so we designed and piloted vaccine hesitancy interventions in identified primary health care clinics and churches. With the support of many Jefferson County faith leaders, the RADx-UP team wanted to provide information to help address issues related to vaccine hesitancy (fear, mistrust, misinformation). With this mission, the Intervention Toolkit was created.

Our team is dedicated to helping partners with successful implementation at every level. If you are interested in becoming a partner, contact Tiffany Osborne.

Already a partner? Download the toolkit.

Take a look back to move forward.

Progressing into the later stage of the pandemic, RADxUP team members are helping residents reflect on the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether people are ready to get back to church, gather with family & friends, or want to be prepared for unexpected events in the future, community voices are welcomed to help understand the impact COVID-19 has had and improve testing within Jefferson County.

For more information on the surveys, please download our flyer.

Funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH)

RADx-UP is a consortium of over 125 research projects on COVID-19 testing in communities throughout the U.S. Each project awarded aims to further the overarching mission of "understanding and reducing the disparities in COVID-19 morbidity and mortality for those disproportionately affected by COVID-19."