People living in poor communities often lack access to health care services, a problem that becomes more pronounced during a pandemic. But a team at Duquesne University is working to change that.

The university's Center for Integrative Health (CIH) has been working with federally qualified health centers to help provide COVID-19 testing to underserved areas throughout the summer, including at the Northside Christian Health Center and East Liberty Family Health Care Center. In addition to continued coronavirus testing, the group is now arranging flu immunization clinics and chronic disease prevention management programs for the area's most vulnerable populations for the fall.

"Because of the pandemic, some individuals are forgoing needed health care, which can lead to serious complications down the road," said Dr. Jennifer Elliott, director of the CIH and associate professor of pharmacy practice at Duquesne. "Many people in these communities face multiple barriers to health care; we are committed to meeting residents where they are and connecting them to needed services."

Duquesne has teamed with the Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh (HACP) and Live Well Allegheny to offer free chronic disease screenings for diabetes, cardiovascular risk and smoking. The team is also providing nationally recognized disease management programs at all housing authority locations, including 10 high rise buildings and five family communities.

"We are proud to work with Duquesne on this important initiative," said Michelle Sandidge, chief community affairs officer for HACP. "These programs are more than just wellness checks. Residents get out and see their neighbors and enjoy some social interaction, which is so important given the isolation caused by COVID-19. The impact is far-reaching for our communities."

Flu immunization clinics have been arranged at all HACP sites and in the Woodland Hills and Propel school districts through October. The team has also implemented virtual asthma screenings and is continuing the Duquesne Asthma Clinic in several school districts. These latest efforts further Duquesne's legacy in promoting health care equity and opportunity throughout the region. In the past ten years alone, the university has provided cholesterol and blood pressure screenings to more than 20,000 residents in underserved areas.


Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and horizon-expanding education. A campus of nearly 8,500 graduate and undergraduate students, Duquesne prepares students by having them work alongside faculty to discover and reach their goals. The Universitys academic programs, community service, and commitment to equity and opportunity in the Pittsburgh region have earned national acclaim.

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October 15, 2020