Norfolk State University celebrated its 85th  birthday on September 18 with a virtual founder’s day address and a virtual convocation. The last historically black college and university to be established in Virginia also announced major new research, noting that just like 1935 the university finds itself in the midst of another set of global and national crises.

As part of the National Institutes of Health’s Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx) initiative, the RADx Underserved Populations (RADx-UP) program will support 32 institutions across the United States and focus on populations disproportionately affected by the pandemic.

“This is another opportunity to participate in a collaborative effort against a pandemic that has disproportionately affected the African American community,” said Dr. Cynthia Burwell in a statement.

Dr. Burwell is director of NSU’s Center of Excellence in Minority Health Disparities, which is part of a million-dollar grant to study the mistrust of COVID-19 guidance among vulnerable communities.

According to the Center, they will assess the use of telehealth as a  tool for addressing low-income housing residents’ mistrust in COVID-19 guidance and will develop community-informed strategies to address resident concerns about COVID-19 testing and to make testing more relevant to their needs.

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