APH COVID-19 initiative: HEROES study aims to describe and examine the mental health, behavioral, and social challenges experienced by workers at health services

The COVID-19 HEalth caRe wOrkErS (HEROES) is a cohort study aimed to describe and examine the mental health, behavioral, and social challenges experienced by workers at health services in 5 continents. This is a joint effort between the University of Chile and Columbia University in partnership with a wide variety of institutions from more than 25 countries, including Maastricht University, the Amsterdam UMC and VU Amsterdam. Low-and-middle-income countries are well represented. The latter is particularly relevant given the limited resources available in such countries and the lack of basic supplies to deal with the pandemic (e.g., masks, gloves, and soap). Moreover, the longitudinal nature of the study will permit us to examine the trajectory of adverse (and possibly some beneficial) effects over time, while taking into account the different stages of the pandemic, and the nature and extent of the health response (e.g., redeployment, increased workload), in order to advance our understanding of these complex phenomena and inform policy.

The target population includes workers who have interacted, or may interact in the future, with people with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 at different health settings. Potential participants will include any type of worker in these centers, including clinical and administrative staff, as well as supportive staff. Participants will self-administer an online questionnaire including a screening on psychiatric symptoms and questions on several emotional, behavioral, and social factors affected by the COVID-19 epidemic. The questionnaire includes sociodemographic data, questions on employment, fears, and concerns related to COVID-19, as well as a series of questions on resilience, formal and informal supports, and previous mental and physical conditions. The study will use a digital platform hosted at the University of Chile and which has data encryption technology that meets international standards, including Dutch legislation for data protection (AVG). The Medical Ethics Review Committee of the Amsterdam UMC has confirmed that the Medical Research Involving Human Subjects Act (WMO) does not apply to this study.

For questions, please contact Frederike Schirmbeck


This is an initiative taken by APH researchers as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. If you have an initiative to be listed as well, please email us.

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