Contact: Tomás León, Equality Health,, (602) 799-4382
Christina Borrego, RIESTER,, (602) 721-5779
Equality Health Foundation Partners with ASU to Counter COVID-19 Testing Deserts’ in Arizona ASU Biodesign Institute’s saliva-based test results typically ready in 48 hours; free tests Dec. 5

(PHOENIX) Nov. 5, 2020 —The Equality Health Foundation announces a collaborative effort with Arizona State University to increase access to COVID-19 testing and culturally competent health care outreach for communities disproportionately impacted by the virus. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), people from racial and ethnic minorities fall ill and die from COVID-19 at a higher rate than the general population. Testing is one tool to aid in controlling the spread of the disease, but socioeconomic and cultural barriers negatively impact access to health care, which in turn creates COVID-19 testing deserts. Minority communities in Arizona have significantly lower COVID-19 testing rates but of those that are testing, positivity rates are much higher than those in non-minority communities.

Arizona has experienced some of the highest rates of COVID-19 infection and hospitalizations in the U.S. COVID-19 morbidity and mortality disparities are disproportionally high in the state, driven by comorbidities and known social determinants of health (SDoH). In addition, recent data shows that once again, COVID-19 cases in Arizona are surging.

This timely partnership combines Equality Health Foundation’s COVID-19 comprehensive testing model, enhanced by a community health worker component, along with an FDA-authorized saliva-based diagnostic test developed by the ASU Biodesign Institute Clinical Testing Laboratory. The project is possible thanks to funding from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The second drive-up and walk-up saliva-based testing event is scheduled for Dec. 5. Organizers are prepared to test more than 500 people. Registration is now open online at with the code EQUALITY or by calling 1-888-587-3647.

Participants should not eat, drink, smoke, vape, or chew gum at least 30 minutes before their test. Saliva-based tests are for anyone who is experiencing symptoms, has been exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19 or has recently attended a large family or public gathering. Testing is also useful for being cleared for employment, going back to school in person or returning home from college. The event is open to the community at large including children ages five and older accompanied by a guardian or parent. ID or proof of insurance are not required.

WHAT: ASU Biodesign Institute saliva-based testing for COVID-19 is available to the public.
WHO: The testing events are open to the community at large and organized by Equality Health Foundation and Arizona State University.
WHEN: Saturday, Dec 5, 7 a.m. – Noon
WHERE: Maryvale – Sueño Park, 4401 W Encanto Blvd., Phoenix, AZ 85035.
HOW: Sign up online at by entering the code EQUALITY or by calling 888-587-3647.