PROTECT Team Hosts Site Visits for ECHO and RECOVER Studies in Puerto Rico

Feb 16, 2023 | Community Engagement Core, Data Management & Analysis Core, Human Subjects & Sampling Core, PROTECT Team

In January, the PROTECT team hosted ECHO and RECOVER site visits in their research facilities and health centers in Puerto Rico. The visits gave the research teams the chance to meet in person to discuss study progress and future goals.

The ECHO site visit was held on January 17th and 18th. The visiting ECHO group included NIH Program Officer Christina Park as well as members of the ECHO Coordinating Center (CC) at Duke University and the Data Analytics Center (DAC) at John Hopkins University. The group met with PROTECT and ECHO staff and researchers from the University of Puerto Rico, Northeastern University, University of Georgia, and University of Michigan.

The first day of the trip included a cohort presentation by Research Manager Zaira Rosario-Pabón, who shared information regarding the team’s structure, the study site location, the impacts of COVID-19 on the cohort, and progress on ECHO Goals, Objectives, Indicators, and Targets (GOITs). DAC members also presented and discussed new ECHO GOITs, which should enhance goal measurability regarding participant enrollment and retention, data collection, biospecimens and assays, and publication and dissemination. The day also included a visit the PROTECT/ECHO clinic where participants have follow-up visits in Manatí. They looked at exam rooms and equipment, saw where samples are collected, observed part of a child visit, and met with PROTECT/ECHO investigator Dr. Gredia Huerta-Montanez and several study nurses.

Outside the Manatí clinic.

The second day involved a visit to the University of Puerto Rico, Medical Sciences Campus to see where study samples are processed and stored, and to speak with some faculty and administrators from the University’s School of Public Health. There was also time to split into smaller groups for specific discussions regarding data and administration. The CC members led discussions about regulatory binders and training and consent documents. The DAC members held technical discussions with the cohort’s data administrators and managers about data uploads and sharing, and reviewed specific forms and exports to ensure consistent data across ECHO and cohort databases. Cohort leadership met with Christina Park to discuss the program’s general progress and future priorities.

The RECOVER team meeting at UPR MSC.

On January 20th, PROTECT hosted the RECOVER Pediatric Hub team for the RECOVER site visit. This country-wide study aims to understand how people recover from a COVID-19 infection, and why some do not fully recover from infection and can experience Long COVID. PROTECT is participating as one of 15 pediatric cohorts in the program. The visit was an important opportunity for the cohort team, which is being led by Dr. Emily Zimmerman and Zaria Rosario-Pabón, to meet in person with the RECOVER pediatric team. The group discussed the Puerto Rico cohort’s involvement, research goals, progress of the study at large, and priorities and best research practices moving forward.

Thank you to our team in Puerto Rico for their great work hosting these visits.

See more photos from the visits below!