Partnership with Hennepin Healthcare Paramedics
Partnership with Hennepin Healthcare Paramedics brings research to the community
The COVID-19 pandemic brought changes to many areas of our lives, including how and where we work, how our children play and learn, and how we get our healthcare. The challenges that came with the pandemic affected how research is conducted as well, and at a time when research presented one of our best hopes for navigating a way forward, lock downs and safety protocols created new hurdles for participation in research. In response to these challenges, HHRI developed a partnership with Hennepin Healthcare’s Community Paramedics team so patients could continue to have access to the research studies that were investigating new treatments for the virus that causes COVID-19.
The Hennepin Healthcare paramedic’s team provides medical transportation and care to the residents of Minneapolis and the surrounding communities spanning over 260 square miles and supporting a residential population of over 700,000 people. The Hennepin Healthcare paramedics do their work with compassion and skill, and seek to make a difference in the communities they serve. Their commitment is well illustrated by their key role in bringing COVID-19 research out into the community.
One of the leaders in forging this new partnership with the community paramedics was HHRI’s Infectious Disease research team led by Dr. Jason Baker and Dr. Anne Frosch. Prior to the pandemic, this group was primarily focused on investigating and improving health outcomes in patients with HIV and Malaria, but in early 2020 the Infectious Disease team turned to take on the new threats that COVID-19 presented. Their work included finding treatments for moderate to severe COVID-19 including passive immunotherapy (e.g., monoclonal antibodies), antivirals, and immunomodulatory treatments, as well as expanding our understanding of the immunologic basis of the long-term consequences of the illness. This work started with patients hospitalized with COVID-19, but quickly progressed to evaluating patients in an outpatient setting where continued follow-up on health outcomes after infection was critical to understanding the long-term impacts of the illness.
This innovative new partnership with the Hennepin Healthcare Community Paramedics has allowed the collection of important information about the COVID-19 illness by facilitating engagement with patients at home when and where it is safe and convenient for them. Importantly, this also allowed patients to continue their participation in research without having to ask them to come back into the hospital and clinics when they could still be infectious.
So far, over 350 research participants have been a part of COVID-19 related studies conducted by the Infectious Disease research team. With the help of Hennepin Healthcare paramedics more and more participants have been able to participate in research visits at home. As the pandemic wears on, this important work will continue with new studies looking at the long-term effects COVID-19 and HHRI is grateful to have the HHS community paramedic team as a partner in this work. For more information about Hennepin Healthcare’s paramedics, please visit https://www.hennepinhealthcare.org/hennepinems/.