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Surgeon Fills COVID-19 Testing Gap in Philadelphia’s Black Neighborhoods

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To identify the key insights or developments described in this article
1 Credit CME

As coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) surged last spring, pediatric surgeon Ala Stanford, MD, heard from Black residents in her hometown of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, who had symptoms but were hitting roadblocks in getting tested.

Some lacked a physician’s referral. Others were turned away because they didn’t arrive in a car or didn’t meet criteria for testing. Testing sites were clustered in affluent White areas. Black residents, who were dying in disproportionate numbers, couldn’t find testing in their own neighborhoods.

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As coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) surged last spring, pediatric surgeon Ala Stanford, MD, heard from Black residents in her hometown of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, who had symptoms but were hitting roadblocks in getting tested.

Some lacked a physician’s referral. Others were turned away because they didn’t arrive in a car or didn’t meet criteria for testing. Testing sites were clustered in affluent White areas. Black residents, who were dying in disproportionate numbers, couldn’t find testing in their own neighborhoods.

In April, Stanford launched the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium to provide free tests at walk-up locations such as church parking lots during convenient hours for working people. By early December, the group had tested more than 17 000 people. Stanford, who also serves on the city’s advisory board for vaccination planning, was the physician of record for each person tested.

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