While UT Southwestern nurses, doctors, and medical professionals are working tirelessly on the frontlines to deliver the best care to our community, researchers are leading a groundbreaking initiative to understand the spread of the virus in North Texas.

UT Southwestern Medical Center and Texas Health Resources have launched the DFW COVID-19 Prevalence Study. This study is evaluating and testing approximately 45,000 people for active COVID-19 infection and prior exposure while analyzing the disproportionate impact of the virus on minority racial-ethnic groups and those of lower socioeconomic status. Participation in this groundbreaking study will help local leaders formulate mitigation and containment strategies, provide a deeper understanding of the virus, and produce real-time data that will be available to our community. 

Important strides have been made in modeling and predicting COVID-19 surges, but we still need to understand how many people may have had mild or no symptoms and were never tested, but still had the infection. We also need to understand why the disease spreads more in some communities than others. Preliminary results of the study are promising and include not just positive or negative results, but a suite of information on the behaviors of our community in mitigating the spread of infection.

Recently, the DFW COVID-19 Prevalence Study expanded to allow anyone aged 18 or older who lives in Dallas or Tarrant County to participate. To learn more about how you can participate, visit www.utswmed.org/covidstudy or call 833-947-2577. You’ll complete a brief survey and can then schedule testing for active COVID-19 infection and antibodies that would indicate prior exposure to the virus. The testing is free, and you will be given a $20 gift card for your time. Participation, support, and advocacy of UT Southwestern’s COVID-19 Prevalence Study help us accomplish three major milestones in the fight against COVID-19:

1.     Deepening Understanding

While we have made tremendous strides in our understanding of the COVID-19 virus over the past few months with guidance and leadership from UT Southwestern, much is still unknown about its transmission and spread in our community. Information is one of the greatest assets in our mission to stop the spread of COVID-19. A lack of reporting, asymptomatic spread, and insufficient testing have created obstacles in gathering accurate data. The Prevalence Study aims to fill these gaps by evaluating thousands of Dallas and Tarrant County residents to capture a comprehensive outlook on exactly how many people have been infected and how the virus has spread.

2.     Addressing Needs

The Prevalence Study is including an equal number of participants across Dallas and Tarrant Counties’ three most common racial/ethnic groups – non-Hispanic white, non-Hispanic black, and Hispanic – to represent the community’s diversity and spectrum of COVID-19 related risk factors. With insights, knowledge, and data from the Prevalence Study, our leaders will be able to address the socioeconomic and racial/ethnic disparities in the impact of COVID-19 to better serve our community. Furthermore, the Prevalence Study is carefully monitoring for COVID-19 hot spots created by racial/ethnic and socioeconomic residential segregation, so that expanded interventions can be put into place to mitigate the spread and morbidity of COVID-19.

3.     Building Our Future Together

Above all, results from the COVID-19 Prevalence Study will allow us to create the future we’re all hoping for and enter the new year with renewed hope and optimism. Insights from this research will help our leaders develop effective and fair public health strategies to reduce further deaths from this deadly virus, allow us to confidently return to day-to-day normalcy, safely gather with friends and family, and help revive our economy.

As we end the year with reflection, what is most important to us begins to reveal itself. Health is one of the most fundamental parts of holistic wellness, both physically and emotionally. Today, we are reminded of the profound relationship between health and our connection to each other. As we move forward together, we need to consider the impact every one of us has on the success of our community and how critical our actions are in shaping a healthier future for all.

Please consider visiting www.utswmed.org/covidstudy to take the survey and help make a difference in our community.

If you are interested in acting as a community influencer to help the general public (as well as your networks) better understand the study goals and why their involvement is helpful, please email dfwcovidstudy@utsouthwestern.edu

 

 

Kathleen M. Gibson

President and CEO

Southwestern Medical Foundation