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UI Health Joins Registry of COVID-19 Frontline Care Providers, Preventive Drug Trial

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Susan Bleasdale, MD

Susan Bleasdale, MD
Medical Director of infection
prevention and control

Healthcare workers at the University of Illinois Hospital & Clinics (UI Health) are now eligible to participate in a national registry of clinicians working on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

UI Health is part of the University of Illinois at Chicago, which is among the first institutions in the nation to participate in the Healthcare Worker Exposure Response and Outcomes Registry.

The HERO Registry seeks to engage healthcare workers, understand their experiences, and track their health outcomes related to the COVID-19 pandemic – from infection to stress and burnout. Participant experiences and health outcomes will be tracked via surveys and opportunities to participate in future clinical trials. As part of the registry, healthcare workers at UI Health also will have the opportunity to participate in future COVID-19 clinical trials, such as an upcoming study of hydroxychloroquine's effectiveness in preventing coronavirus infections in healthcare workers.

This study, the first for the HERO Registry, will enroll approximately 15,000 healthcare workers from participating institutions in the clinical trial to see if hydroxychloroquine performs better than placebo at preventing COVID-19.

"This is a great opportunity for our healthcare workers to share their experiences and the challenges they face as frontline care providers,” said Dr. Susan Bleasdale, medical director of Infection Prevention & Control at UI Health and principal investigator of the HERO hydroxychloroquine study at UIC. "We need to study what is happening among healthcare providers with the same dedication we study what is happening to patients.

"This information is vital to understanding what works and what doesn't work as we start thinking through the best ways to protect healthcare workers, emerge from this crisis – and learn from it," said Bleasdale, an infectious disease expert and Interim Chief Quality Officer at UI Health.

Bleasdale said that documenting the experiences of healthcare providers in real-time during the COVID-19 pandemic can provide invaluable information to public health departments, hospitals, and infectious disease experts on how to prepare for future outbreaks or a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The hydroxychloroquine study is expected to begin enrolling healthcare workers through the HERO registry on May 4.

The HERO research program leverages PCORnet, the National Patient-Centered Clinical Research Network, and is funded by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute. 

More information about the HERO Registry, which is led by Duke University, is available online.