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DSU awarded grant to study COVID-19 factors in Delaware's underserved communities

Delaware State Univ.
(L-R) DSU’s Dr. Dorothy Dillard & Dr. Xuanren Goodman will receive collaborative assistance from Peggy Geisler & Kathryn Burritt of the Sussex Co Health Coalition in a proj that will research the social and behavioral factors relating to COVID-19.";

Delaware State University has received a two-year exploratory grant to study COVID-19 in Delaware’s minority communities.


The $1.15 million grant comes from the National Institute of Health’s National Institute of General and Medical Sciences.

Dr. Dorothy Dillard is one of four principal investigators involved.  She’s also the director of the Center for Neighborhood Revitalization and Research.


“The purpose of the grant is to gain a better understanding of COVID testing exposure, reduction behaviors and attitudes in our underserved communities throughout Delaware," said Dillard. "COVID has had a disparate impact on underserved communities.”


Dillard says they are trying to better understand COVID-19 testing patterns, attitudes and risk reduction behaviors among underserved and vulnerable populations.


“We will be practicing all of the protective protocols with social distancing and masks. We’ll be doing a quick screen as the participants come in to make sure that they’re not running a fever. We’ll be doing serology testing - a quick finger prick for a blood draw and a blood test to see if they’ve been exposed to the virus.,”said Dillard. 


Dillard says participants will then complete a survey on an iPad.

Dillard says the project will focus on nine Delaware communities - three in each county.  They include Wilmington’s Westside and Riverside neighborhoods, as well as Prices Run in New Castle County, West Dover, West Camden and Harrington in Kent County and Seaford, Bridgeville and Georgetown in Sussex County.

She adds that the project will prepare and position people living in these communities for distribution of a COVID-19 vaccination once one is available.

Dillard notes that DSU is already working with the Sussex County Health Coalition and the Wilmington Community Advisory Council on the project.