About Us

In this unprecedented and challenging time, PCORI is gearing up to do all we can to address the threat COVID-19 poses to the nation’s health with a multipronged effort to support research on approaches to prevent and minimize effects of the virus.

A key piece of that effort is trying to ensure that those on the front lines of caring for people with the infection are getting the attention and support they so badly need. So, our Board of Governors today approved up to $50 million to fund a healthcare workers registry and rapid-turnaround clinical trial of whether hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) can prevent healthcare workers at high risk of contracting COVID-19 from becoming infected and unintentionally spreading the virus to others.

A team from the Duke Clinical Research Institute (DCRI) will lead this initiative, known as the Healthcare Worker Exposure Response and Outcomes (HERO) program. To speed this effort, DCRI researchers will leverage PCORnet®, the National Patient-Centered Clinical Research Network, the PCORI-funded national resource that taps into rich sources of real-world data to facilitate health research and quick and efficient sharing of information.

Plans call for the registry recruitment process to start in early April, with the study, known as the HERO-HCQ trial and involving about 40 PCORnet-associated sites across the United States, expected to begin later in the month.

A Broad Funding Approach

This trial is the largest and most immediate element in the plan PCORI is devising in response to this health emergency, but it’s not the only one. We also are providing funding for new research and programs seeking to improve COVID-19 care while making supplemental funds available to existing studies and projects that can address this issue. Altogether, PCORI is investing up to $110 million in high-quality, patient-centered research targeting coronavirus.


In addition to the funding for the HERO initiative, the Board today committed up to $30 million to fund other new COVID-19 research studies, as well as engagement and dissemination and implementation projects. PCORI staff already are working to identify proposed topics relating to the COVID-19 response that may be well-suited for large studies and other projects. Other topics are likely to come from key healthcare stakeholders involved in the country’s response.

A total of up to $20 million will go toward funding award increases for research and other projects related to the response. It will also address appropriate changes caused by the COVID-19 emergency. For instance, some researchers may revise their plans by adding coronavirus aims to their studies or switching to virtual environments.

Our existing programs and resources also will play a role. The Board approved up to $10 million for an existing fund earmarked for small, rapid-response projects. 

Our commitment extends beyond funding research studies and dissemination and engagement projects. For example, we are highlighting the demands the virus is placing on our hospitals and healthcare systems now and in the months ahead through a series of webinars entitled Confronting COVID-19: Finding Hospital Capacity and Improving Patient Flow.

Hospitals across the country face enormous challenges because of the public health emergency. The four-part webinar series, which began this week, features a roster of clinicians and operations management experts who will discuss proven techniques for managing capacity that can be adapted to circumstances surrounding the current pandemic.

The Rest of Our Work Continues

Rest assured, PCORI remains committed to the extraordinary range of comparative clinical effectiveness research we have funded since the early days of our organization. We will continue to support these important endeavors while adding our efforts to contribute to the global effort to fight COVID-19.

Our work focuses on people. We never lose sight of the community of healthcare workers, researchers, clinicians, patients, and caregivers we are privileged to serve every day. And we never lose sight of the mission we are privileged to live every day.

That mission is as relevant as ever: PCORI helps people make informed healthcare decisions, and improves healthcare delivery and outcomes, by producing and promoting high-integrity, evidence-based information that comes from research guided by patients, caregivers, and the broader healthcare community.

Health and well-being are integral to our research funding, engagement with stakeholders, and our day-to-day operations. We will continue to assess the COVID-19 situation as we explore other ways PCORI can serve our nation.


What's Happening at PCORI?

The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute sends weekly emails about opportunities to apply for funding, newly funded research studies and engagement projects, results of our funded research, webinars, and other new information posted on our site.

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