People living in underserved communities often lack access to health care services, a problem that becomes more pronounced during a pandemic. A team at Duquesne is working to change that.
The University’s Center for Integrative Health (CIH) worked with federally qualified health centers, including the Northside Christian Health Center and East Liberty Family Health Care Center, to provide COVID-19 testing to deprived areas throughout the summer.
In addition to continued coronavirus testing, the group is now arranging flu immunization clinics and chronic disease prevention management programs this 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 also is 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 are scheduled at all HACP sites and in the Woodland Hills and Propel school districts through October. The team also has implemented virtual asthma screenings and is continuing to host the Duquesne Asthma Clinics in several school districts.
These latest efforts further Duquesne’s legacy in promoting health care equity and opportunity throughout the region. In the past 10 years alone, the University has provided cholesterol and blood-pressure screenings to more than 20,000 residents in neglected areas.