Concerted effort between UCSF, Black organizations, hope to test 1,000 people this Friday and Saturday in Oakland

A close up of a person wearing PPEE and holding a COVID test swab
Photo by Mufid Majnun via Unsplash.

Organizers and medical professionals hope to test 1,000 people in East Oakland this Friday and Saturday, with an emphasis on testing African Americans. The partnership is between UCSF, United in Health, Oakland Frontline Healers, and Black organizations.

The idea, organizers say, is to bring pop-up test sites to where people go. “Instead of asking people to come to the testing, we are trying to take the testing directly to the people,” said Dr. Kim F. Rhoads, Associate Professor of Epidemiology & Biostatistics, UCSF and Director, Office of Community Engagement and Associate Director for Community Outreach and Engagement, UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center

Data shows that African Americans are suffering a higher death rate due to COVID-19 in Alameda County.

And while health clinics in East Oakland have a test site, the test sites have been mostly utilized by non-African Americans. For example, Roots Community Health Clinic in East Oakland typically serves 85-90% African American patients, but Black and African American COVID-19 testing there is about 20% of the population, according to a news release.

Rhoads said these pop-up test sites “help us ensure that the free testing resources from UCSF reach the folks who have been harder to engage, but for whom infection with COVID-19 can have the most devastating consequences.” 

As Dr. Gerard Jenkins, Chief Medical Officer of the Native American Health Center, notes in his recent discussion with Oakland Voices, there is also sometimes a stigma attached to getting tested. Historically, African Americans and other minority communities have been subjected to un-consented medical testing, interventions, and worse. The most recent example is women in ICE detention center who were subjected to hysterectomies without consent.

As Dr. Jenkins notes, it is important to get COVID-19 testing to prevent the spread, but also because some African Americans may have other health issues that affect the severity of COVID, possibly leading to a higher death rate.


Friday, September 18 from 9:00am to 4:00 pm at Building Opportunities for Self Sufficiency (BOSS). 9006 MacArthur Blvd., walk-up testing.

Saturday, September 19 from 9am to 4:00 pm at the Center of Hope Church. 8400 MacArthur Blvd, drive through and walk-up testing.

Here are FAQs from United in Health’s website.

Author Profile

Momo Chang is a freelance journalist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is the Oakland Voices Co-Director. Her work focuses on healthcare, immigration, education, Asian American communities, food and culture. She is a former staff writer at the Oakland Tribune. Momo has received journalism awards from the Society of Professional Journalists for investigative reporting and the Asian American Journalists Association, among others. Her work has appeared in the East Bay Express, San Francisco Chronicle, Wired, and The New York Times. Momo is primarily a print journalist who also produces audio and visual stories for documentary film and radio. She is a Senior Contributing Editor for Hyphen and formerly the Content Manager at the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM).

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