Faculty Warren Kibbe and UNC Collaborator Giselle Corbie-Smith, MD publish on crucial need for better data on marginalized communities in Covid-19 research

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Warren Kibbe, PhD
Nov. 27, 2021

An important article in StatNews compares the legendary 1854 cholera study by John Snow to Covid-19, pointing out that those most affected by both health crises are and have been marginalized communities. We must engage those communities to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.

Giselle Corbie-Smith, MDMapping the locations of cases allowed Snow to identify a shared water well as the source of cholera. In the same manner, we must look at the current data to determine how and where covid transmission is occurring, but we continue to lack important data representing communities of Black, Indigenous, and other people of color (BIPOC) who have been most affected by Covid-19. Why is this data in particular missing? Privacy concerns can hinder the collection of data. But there is also history of mistrust on the part of some BIPOC communities; they can be particularly reticent to share their personal information.

RADx-UP LogoThe NIH-funded Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics-Underserved Populations (RADx-UP) program, which Duke University, UNC-Chapel Hill, and the Community-Campus Partnerships for Health is part of, is working to meet the critical need for data.  To accomplish this, the RADx-UP Coordination and Data Collection Center (CDCC) is researching Covid-19 testing patterns and data on disparities in infection rates, disease progression and outcomes from these communities and are conducting a study pre- and post-intervention to evaluate levels of Covid-19 in the community.

The RADx-UP program specifically focuses on underserved and/or vulnerable populations, which include health disparity populations, particularly African Americans and American Indians/Alaska Natives; those in nursing homes, jails, rural areas, or underserved urban areas; pregnant women; and the homeless.

Read more about the strategies in the full article here.