Northwestern Medicine Healthcare Workers Join National PCORnet® Study to Fight COVID-19

CHICAGO, IL (MAY 4, 2021) - Northwestern Medicine healthcare workers recently began to enroll in the Healthcare Worker Exposure Response & Outcomes (HERO) Registry. The registry invites all U.S. healthcare workers to share clinical and life experiences in order to understand the perspectives and problems faced by those on the COVID-19 pandemic front lines.

The registry will unite America’s healthcare workers into a community to facilitate rapid-cycle research, including an upcoming large study of hydroxychloroquine’s effectiveness in preventing coronavirus infections in healthcare workers. The HERO research program leverages PCORnet®, the National Patient-Centered Clinical Research Network, and is funded by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI). As a network of PCORnet, the Chicago Area Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Network (CAPriCORN) will play a vital role in contributing to the Chicago area efforts of the registry and trial. CHIP Faculty Member Faraz Ahmad, MD, MS, will lead the Northwestern Medicine site along with Assistant Professor of Medicine (Cardiology) Jay Pandit, MD, and Assistant Professor of Medicine (Endocrinology) Amisha Wallia, MD.

“Healthcare workers treat and protect all of us from COVID-19. With the HERO Registry we aim to develop better measures to protect and support them,” said Adrian Hernandez, MD, MHS, principal investigator of the HERO research program, which is led by the Duke Clinical Research Institute (DCRI), part of the Duke University School of Medicine. “The registry will leverage PCORnet resources and capacity to help us develop fast knowledge to keep healthcare workers safe and healthy, which ultimately will help protect us all.”

The HERO Registry is asking hundreds of thousands of healthcare professionals to participate, including nurses, therapists, physicians, emergency responders, food service workers, environmental services workers, interpreters, and transporters – anyone who works in a setting where people receive health care.

“We’re calling on all healthcare workers to share their perspectives so that we can understand and provide answers to the problems they face in real time – and over time,” said Emily O’Brien, PhD, principal investigator of the HERO Registry and Assistant Professor in Duke’s Department of Population Health Sciences.

The goals of the registry are to engage healthcare workers in a research community, understand their experiences and interests, and track critical health outcomes associated with caring for patients with COVID-19, such as stress and burnout. The HERO Registry will help speed clinical studies that address unmet needs for healthcare workers, such as an upcoming study of hydroxychloroquine. HERO-HCQ is a randomized clinical trial of approximately 15,000 HERO Registry participants that will evaluate whether hydroxychloroquine (brand name Plaquenil®) is better than placebo in preventing COVID-19 infection. It will be conducted through clinical research sites in PCORnet.

There is no cost to join the HERO Registry and it takes only a few minutes to sign up. After joining, registry participants will receive surveys, opportunities to participate in future studies, and learnings from the HERO research community. Healthcare workers can participate as much or as little as they like. The registry will follow a protocol developed by the DCRI and data guidelines to keep healthcare worker information secure.

“It is hard to think that by doing my daily job, not only can I get sick, but I can infect those that I love the most,” said Jorge Lascano, MD, associate professor of Pulmonary and Critical Care, University of Florida, in a video message. “This is the time to be proactive, to develop ways to stay safe on the front lines. I encourage everyone to be a part of HERO—and part of the solution.”

To learn more about the HERO Registry, visit

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