A team of researchers co-led by UCLA professors Moira Inkelas and Dr. Mitch Wong has received almost $3 million in grants from the U.S. National Institutes of Health to use evidence-based research to inform policy makers of the safest ways to return to schools in vulnerable and underserved communities.

UCLA’s is one of is one of 15 teams that have received an award through institute’s initiative to help underserved populations safely return to schools through rapid diagnostic testing, NIH officials said.

“The goal of our research is to reduce disparities in returning to in-person learning for those vulnerable and underserved school children in communities that are disproportionately affected by, have the highest infection rates of, and are most at risk for adverse outcomes from contracting the virus,” Inkelas said.

Inkelas is a professor of health policy and management at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, and Wong is a professor of medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.

Inkelas, whose research is primarily concerned with children’s access to health care, also serves as co-lead of the population health program within UCLA’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute, whose researchers work to address some of the most challenging health and social problems facing children and families.

“This initiative will specifically focus on practical questions facing schools with diverse populations here in Los Angeles,” Inkelas said.

Read the news release on the Fielding School of Public Health website.