LONG BRANCH, NJ – Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) announced today that Rutgers University will receive $3.8 million to improve COVID-19 testing in underserved communities. The award is made possible by the National Institutes of Health’s initiative to enhance COVID-19 testing of populations disproportionately affected by COVID-19, including African Americans, American Indians/Alaskan Natives, Latinos/Latinas, Native Hawaiians, older adults, pregnant women and those who are homeless or incarcerated. In New Jersey, Black and Latinx residents are three times more likely to contract COVID-19 and are twice as likely to die as a result of the virus.


“While we have made progress to close racial and ethnic health disparities in recent years, people of color in America continue to experience disparities in care and worse health outcomes compared to white Americans. Unfortunately, we have clear evidence that communities of color have suffered disproportionately during the coronavirus pandemic,” Pallone said. “As new cases rise each day, it’s important that everyone – regardless of where you live – has access to a COVID-19 test if they need one. We know that extensive testing is critical if we want to crush this pandemic and get people back to work and school safely. This funding will help us ensure that testing is distributed equitably across our state and is another step in making sure that we keep all Americans healthy and safe during this public health crisis.


“With a RAdx-UP award, Rutgers and NJ ACTS will lead the way to improve COVID-19 testing in under-represented populations,” said Reynold Panettieri, Vice Chancellor for Translational Medicine and Science at Rutgers University. “This will assist in removing barriers to care for all New Jerseyans during this devastating pandemic.” 

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“As an academic institution committed to serve the New Jersey community and to make an impact in health care, this award will go a long way in fostering that goal and will bring help to the communities that need it the most,” said Brian L. Strom, Chancellor of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences and the Executive Vice President for Health Affairs at Rutgers University.


In June, Pallone’s Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing on racial and ethnic health disparities in COVID-19 pandemic and the health care system.