UF Health researchers join national study of COVID-19 impacts on health workers, potential remedies

A new research program to understand the effect of COVID-19 on health care workers is soon to be underway at University of Florida Health and other sites across the country. A clinical trial to evaluate whether hydroxychloroquine can prevent COVID-19 infections is also being planned. 

The Healthcare Worker Exposure and Outcomes, or HERO, initiative has two parts — a registry and a clinical trial. The registry, which comes out of Duke University, hopes to enroll hundreds of thousands of health care workers nationally who are at risk of developing the COVID-19 infection. Registry members will then be eligible for a clinical trial of hydroxychloroquine’s effectiveness in preventing COVID-19 infection in health care workers, called the HERO-HCQ trial.         

At UF Health, a group of researchers and staff will help to recruit health care workers for the Duke registry. Then, up to 1,125 people may ultimately participate in the HERO-HCQ clinical trial through UF Health — 375 each in Gainesville, Jacksonville and Leesburg. 

The HERO program is a special opportunity to learn how COVID-19 affects health care workers and to potentially study hydroxychloroquine’s effectiveness as a preventive measure, said Elizabeth A. Shenkman, Ph.D., a professor and chair of the UF College of Medicine’s department of health outcomes and biomedical informatics. She is also the principal investigator for the OneFlorida Clinical Research Consortium, which includes the HERO sites in Florida.

To read more about UF Health’s participation in the HERO initiative, click here.