June 04, 2020 | UCSC | Scott Hernandez-Jason

Compelled by values of social justice and equity, UC Santa Cruz and Santa Cruz Community Health, a nonprofit primary care provider for low-income patients, are working together to test the area’s underserved residents for COVID-19.

As news outlets published stories about celebrities and athletes unnecessarily getting tested for COVID-19, UC Santa Cruz scientists and staff saw an opportunity to provide fast testing for the community’s most vulnerable residents who too often do not have access to the same medical services.

“We have the scientific and regulatory expertise on campus to provide rapid, accurate testing for COVID-19,” said Isabel Bjork, director of operations for the UC Santa Cruz Genomics Institute. “Most importantly though, we have committed researchers and staff who want to use their expertise to help our community. It seemed inconceivable not to act.”

The UC Santa Cruz Molecular Diagnostic Lab has run more than 200 tests for the campus health center and for the community health center since gaining state approval on May 1. The lab is providing rapid test results for the Santa Cruz community while also increasing the overall testing capacity in the county. The diagnostic lab is just one example of how UC Santa Cruz serves the community.

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