UT Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA) - ReACH Center
Impact of the Disease & Priorities Looking Forward Among San Antonians Who Have Recovered from COVID-19
Despite a recent slight decline in incidence, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage in San Antonio. COVID-19 carries substantial morbidity and mortality, and survivors of COVID-19 infection also stand to suffer potentially long-lasting adverse health, social, financial, and educational effects. This project aims to: (1) assess the unique impacts and stressors that survivors of COVID-19 encounter, and (2) identify community priorities for addressing these concerns. Researchers at UTHSCSA will partner with the South Central Area Health Education Center to survey Bexar County residents from UTHSCSA’s Division of Infectious Diseases’ registry of over 4,000 people who have been diagnosed with COVID-19. The survey will comprise 1) demographic information, 2) self-report measures assessing physical functioning, mental health, substance use, education, employment, finances, and housing, and 3) open-ended questions regarding concerns and resource needs. As the pandemic evolves, the negative impact of social determinants of health along with challenges in access to healthcare and the compounded stress stand to have a lasting impact on our community. This project hopes to facilitate partnerships between researchers and community members that result in meaningful and effective interventions. At the end of this project, we will apply for extramural funding to follow this cohort over time.
University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) - Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering
Wastewater Informed Epidemiological Monitoring of COVID-19 in Bexar County
Improved understanding of the prevalence of COVID-19 at a population level can help government agencies and healthcare officials implement appropriate policies to mitigate the exponential spread of the disease, and diminish the future strain on healthcare facilities. SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing COVID-19, is excreted in the stool of infected individuals, eventually ending up in the wastewater treatment plant. The overarching goal of the proposed project is to harness the potential of municipal wastewater treatment systems for the assessment of prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 in our communities. Sewage samples will be collected from local wastewater facilities and sewer lines to identify COVID-19 outbreak hotspots. Molecular quantification of SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater will be combined with epidemiological data (e.g., from public health surveillance) to model outbreak dynamics and estimate the overall prevalence of the virus in the community over time. These data will be shared with San Antonio Metro Health to inform risk analysis and decision-making processes as well as means of selecting communities for enhanced outreach for mobile testing. Knowledge gained from this study will advance the understanding of how wastewater testing can be used to guide healthcare resources to marginalized communities, reducing long-term economic disruption of the larger community during future outbreaks.
Children’s Rehabilitation Institute – TeletonUSA
Alta La Voz: Amplifying the Voice of Families of Children with Special Needs from Predominantly Hispanic/Latin Backgrounds around the COVID-19 Pandemic
Long-standing systemic health and social inequities have put many people from racial and ethnic minority groups at increased risk of getting sick and dying from COVID-19. Our children add an additional dynamic---a physical disability and compromised medical condition. COVID-19 has been disruptive to all families. The effects of school closures, medical equipment shortages and social distancing are further amplified for families of children with disabilities. Children with disabilities may experience serious complications or death due to COVID-19 This group was missed in messaging about at-risk populations. Public screening facilities may be inaccessible or increase exposure for children and families. Our Evaluation Team will be comprised of CRIT personnel and CRIT adult family members who will know firsthand what the neediest of our families are going through and how they are managing the day to day activities in a world besieged by COVID 19. Our project will identify the challenges facing our families in addition to having a child with disabilities. Those challenges include unemployment, furloughs, food insecurity, loss of home or apartment and transportation issues. We will identify the neediest of our patients and through a “Crisis Fund” we will assist our families in meeting the challenges they face.
Community Information Now
COVID-19 Geographic & Demographic Variation & Interaction with Existing Disparities in Health Status and Social Determinants
Community Information Now (CI:Now) is a nonprofit local data intermediary staffed in partnership with the School of Public Health in San Antonio. Using several different technical tools and methods, CI:Now will analyze a wealth of already-existing data to shed light on differences in how COVID-19 is affecting Bexar County neighborhoods and groups of people in terms of health, income, employment and business, housing, and other community priorities. It will also show how the pandemic is worsening (or just changing) the inequity and injustice already shouldered by marginalized communities. The information that comes out of the research will be shared publicly online and in print-ready format. CI:Now will work with data providers and people who might benefit from the research to help make sure that what is learned can be put to good use right away, and that it will help rather than harm the people and neighborhoods already hit hard by COVID-19 and the inequities that already existed.
Martinez Street Women’s Center
COVID Community Research & Intervention - UnDocuFund
As a community-based organization, The Martinez Street Women’s Center proposes a CPPR Project utilizing the foundational asset of trust built over time in the East, West, and South sides of San Antonio. Understanding historical lack of trust from Brown and Black communities towards traditional research entities, MSWC is embedded within our service area and communities, understanding their cultural norms and values, mistrust of power structures and agencies, and social conditions of poverty and structural racism. Because of COVID-19, MSWC received numerous requests for assistance from community members, and responded by applying for and receiving $25,000 emergency response funding for rental assistance for undocumented residents. Preliminary data from the distribution of those dollars suggested that undocumented members of our community face greater barriers to successfully access emergency dollars from various agencies, including The City of San Antonio. Our project would build on this preliminary data to continue research with the undocumented community through an exploratory survey of needs, tracking of attempts to access various services, collection of common barriers, intervention, and post intervention survey. We believe data collected could serve Metro Health and The Bexar County Health Collaborative in future creation of emergency funds, and inform staff on barriers and needs, and serve to make services more equitable for those who need them most.