University of Hawaiʻi Will Receive $3.4 Million in New Federal Funding To Improve COVID-19 Testing in Vulnerable Communities
The University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa will receive $3.4 million in federal funding from the US Department of Health and Human Services to support efforts to eliminate COVID-19 disparities among Hawai‘i’s vulnerable populations, including Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders, according to US Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i).
UH will use the funds to increase COVID-19 testing and disseminate COVID-19 educational curriculum to schools in rural and underserved communities.
“We must use every public health intervention available to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our vulnerable populations, and especially to reduce the disparities we’ve seen in the Pacific Islander community,” Sen. Schatz said in a statement. “By expanding access to COVID-19 testing and teaching preventative practices to students in rural areas, this grant will help us keep more Hawai‘i families safe. I’m proud that UH is leading this effort to bring additional resources to areas that need it most.”
Based on a successful testing and outreach program at Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center, UH will use the new funds to conduct similar programs at four additional community health centers: the Molokai Community Health Center; the Waimanalo Health Center on Oahu; and the Bay Clinic Inc. and Hamakua-Kohala Health Center on Hawaiʻi Island.
UH also will disseminate COVID-19 educational curriculum to community schools to empower students and families to implement preventative practices; encourage testing; and help reduce infections.
“We are pleased to address an issue of such great importance to our state – and one which disproportionately impacts Hawaiʻiʻs vulnerable populations,” said Dr. Jerris Hedges, Dean of the John A. Burns School of Medicine, and Dr. Noreen Mokuau, former Dean of the Myron B. Thompson School of Social Work. “This partnership with community health centers and scientists across our great university represents a great opportunity to proactively and uniquely contribute to the health of Hawaiʻi,”