Charles R. Drew University fills a void in COVID testing in South L.A.

A member of the Health Sector Collaborative, Charles R. Drew University (CDU) is providing free COVID-19 testing to Los Angeles County residents. The work is being done in collaboration with the City and County of Los Angeles and Martin Luther King, Jr. Outpatient Center (MLK OPC). “As the statistics are now showing, under-resourced communities of color are being disproportionately affected by the novel coronavirus. However, there have been very few, if any, COVID-19 testing sites in these communities,” said Charles Drew University President and CEO Dr. David M. Carlisle. 

As the only testing site that offers both nasal and oral options, CDU has already conducted over 60,000 COVID-19 tests and is continuously analyzing demographic data to determine the novel coronavirus’ effect on diverse communities across L.A. County. According to a recent report produced by CDU, of those who have been tested at the site, 70.7 percent were Latinx and 15.2 percent were African American. Members of the Latinx community are showing the highest rates of infection. While the rates of infection are not as high for African Americans, a higher percentage of them are dying after getting infected. The report calls for continued testing and recommends tailoring testing sites to meet the needs of community members, such as offering on-site enrollment and walk through options for individuals without vehicles. The report also calls for additional research on the root causes leading to the disproportionate effects of the virus on the Latinx and African American communities. 

CDU and MLK OPC’s testing site is actively seeking volunteers. Students enrolled in nursing programs and other allied health programs are eligible to use volunteer hours to fulfill clinical hour requirements. Sign up to volunteer here (enter access code COVID19CDU).

To get tested, make an appointment at

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