COVID-19: Planning Survey to Come

Dear Colleagues,

Pitt and UPMC are continuing to coordinate messaging about COVID-19 as it pertains to clinical research operations. While emphasizing that we have not closed the University, Chancellor Patrick Gallagher is asking faculty and staff to identify measures that can be taken to “de-densify” the environment to enable Pitt to continue its mission as safely as possible. One of these measures is the possibility of moving to a more restricted research operation. The Office of the Senior Vice Chancellor for Research will soon distribute a short planning survey to determine how this process can best be implemented with minimal disruption, if it is needed. Please anticipate receiving and complete this survey.

We recognize, however, that a number of clinical studies are critical to a particular patient population and need to be sustained for treatment or ethical reasons. These studies include prospective trials in which access to a study drug or device is central to a patient’s disease state (e.g., cancer treatment protocols). In contrast, studies that are observational, mechanistic, without potential therapeutic benefit, involve participants in a high-risk group, expose research staff to unnecessary risk of infection or other non-therapeutic studies may warrant suspension under the current circumstances at the discretion of principal investigators. The Offices of the Senior Vice Chancellor for Research and UPMC OSPARS will also be creating a web-based reporting tool to which PIs will report if their studies are being limited or suspended and the rationale for that decision. Please be on the alert for information about this reporting tool. For further information, please consult your unit-level clinical research director. 

Rob A. Rutenbar
Senior Vice Chancellor for Research

Arthur S. Levine
Senior Vice Chancellor for the Health Sciences

Steven D. Shapiro
Executive Vice President and Chief Medical and Scientific Officer, UPMC