Research and innovation at Trillium Health Partners (THP) has a key role to play in understanding, addressing and mitigating the unique challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. During this unprecedented time, researchers and innovators across THP have quickly mobilized to create new and scalable learnings and are leading over 30 projects and clinical trials to explore novel COVID-19 models, treatment, testing and prevention to improve health outcomes for the community and beyond.
To align with hospital guidance and larger efforts to implement social distancing and slow the transmission of the coronavirus, Trillium Health Partners has implemented a new framework and directives for restarting research and innovation. This is being done as part of a larger effort across THP and in line with the Toronto Academic Health Sciences Network (TAHSN) hospitals to focus on the immediate needs posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. This is also aligned with THP guidance and larger efforts to implement social distancing and slow the transmission of the coronavirus.
THP scientists and investigators are instructed to suspend all non-essential on-site research activity involving patients, families, healthcare workers, and other hospital staff immediately. This means the following:
- Halt the initiation of new studies involving: (1) in person, interaction with patients and families, (2) onsite activities at THP, (3) healthcare workers, and (4) other hospital staff unless:
- there is an overriding rationale for continuity of care or patient safety, or
- the research is on COVID-19.
To proceed in those exceptional cases, you must obtain written approval from Dr. Robert Reid, SVP Science and Chief Scientist.
- THP scientists and investigators are expected to identify what parts of your research activity are considered essential. With consideration for continuity of care and participants’ safety, researchers should halt recruitment, and conduct remote visits where possible. All in-person visits should be limited to those required for study treatments, safety and collection of critical endpoint data. Investigators need to ascertain any limitations with respect to lab, pathology, DI, etc. to support any research considered essential.
- You may continue research studies that are part of essential clinical care or about COVID-19 after obtaining approval from Dr. Robert Reid. Consideration will also be given to continuing studies that have significant cost or time-related implications.
- Research activities such as those related to study planning, analysis of existing data, or publication writing can continue.
- All changes to study protocol must be recorded and submitted to the REB – see THP REB COVID-19 communication. Please contact the REB with any questions or concerns: [email protected]
- THP scientists and investigators should directly communicate with the study sponsor if any protocol changes are required. THP scientists and investigators that serve as site PIs in multi-site studies should communicate any changes with the Lead PI for the study.
- Study personnel should postpone all on-site monitoring visits by the sponsors of clinical trials or other studies. If strictly necessary, arrangements can be made for monitoring without an in-person visit.
- Further guidance will be distributed as available from funding organizations and specific clinical research groups.
- THP and IBH are encouraging research teams and support staff to work remotely from home where possible. IBH is establishing mechanisms to enable research activities to continue remotely (offsite of THP premises).
- Mentorship for research learners should continue remotely where possible as per guidance from the University of Toronto or other academic institutions; learners are not to be present onsite at THP unless approved by exception.
- Hiring of any new research personnel or summer student work arrangements should be suspended until further notice, or by approval from Dr. Robert Reid.
- IBH Operations and Project Management support staff, and THP REB staff are available to answer questions, and assist with these changes.
If you have any questions or concerns, please email [email protected] or contact Delilah Ofosu-Barko, Director, Research Operations at [email protected] or 416-543-0249. We will aim to respond to any questions as soon as possible.
Thank you for your patience and understanding, and please stay tuned for updates.
Robert J. Reid, MD PhD
Senior Vice-President, Science
Frequently Asked Questions – COVID-19 Pandemic Research Conduct & Requirements »