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UMOJA: Community–Based Approach to COVID Response

When the COVID-19 pandemic was surging through our most vulnerable populations, including the Black communities throughout the Bay Area, Dr. Kim Rhoads, Associate Professor of Epidemiology & Biostatistics, UCSF, focused her attention on an equitable COVID-19 response for our hardest hit community members.

When people’s neighbors are knocking on their doors and saying, hey, come on out and get tested, people are more responsive – Dr. Rhoads

Through a partnership with UMOJA Health, our member health center LifeLong Medical Care and other community-based organizations in the East Bay, Dr. Rhoads and UMOJA began to focus in earnest on an equitable response to COVID. One of the most effective ways to do that was to bring healthcare to community members where they live. Last fall, when the first UMOJA COVID testing site in the Eastmont area of Oakland was cancelled due to smoke caused by lightning storms, Dr. Rhoads pivoted quickly to the idea of creating “pop-up” sites in different locations throughout the East Bay in the areas hit the hardest by the pandemic. Through word-of-mouth and social media, these pop-ups started to get noticed.

To date there have been about a dozen pop-up COVID testing sites throughout the East Bay, utilizing parking lots at BART stations, churches, and shopping centers — and now with a steady rollout of vaccines, there is no end to these pop-ups!

UMOJA In The News:

Learn how you can volunteer at upcoming pop-up testing and vaccinations sites HERE.

Learn more about Dr. Kim Rhoads HERE.

Click to view a gallery of UMOJA pop-up sites

UMOJA partners