UNT Health Science Center Leads Effort to Raise Awareness About COVID-19 in Underserved Communities

Dr. Jamboor K. Vishwanatha
Dr. Jamboor K. Vishwanatha

The University of North Texas Health Science Center (HSC) at Fort Worth will administer the Texas portion of a $12 million National Institutes of Health award for outreach and engagement efforts in ethnic and racial minority communities disproportionately affected by COVID-19.

The project connects communities with accurate public health information and informs communities about clinical research and vaccine trials. Both Dallas and Tarrant Counties are among several Texas counties that will receive this special attention. 

The Texas Community Engagement Alliance Consortium will be administered through HSC and led by Dr. Jamboor K. Vishwanatha.

“HSC is committed to leading the way in creating solutions to address health disparities that affect members of underrepresented and diverse communities,” HSC President Dr. Michael Williams said. “COVID-19’s disproportionate impact has shined a bright light on the need for more partnerships and resources to solve these disparities.”

“The Texas Community Engagement Alliance Team has brought together academic partners and multiple community partners with whom trusted relations have been built over many years,” said Dr. Jamboor K. Vishwanatha.  “With this statewide effort, we hope to provide science-based information to overcome the misinformation and mistrust in our communities regarding the clinical and vaccine trials, and to increase participation of ethnic and racial minority communities in Texas in these trials.”

The Community Engagement Alliance research teams will focus on COVID-19 awareness and education research, especially among African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos and American Indians,  populations that account for over half of all reported cases in the United States, according to the National Institutes of Health.