California’s ‘Lost Coast,’ a ruggedly beautiful and isolated part of America—with its dramatic and at times inaccessible coastline often shrouded in fog; adjacent to dense ancient redwood forest covered mountains, is known more for outdoor adventure, including steelhead fishing, and in times past, cannabis growing, than international clinical research. However, with the war on COVID-19, few places won’t be involved. The international remdesivir clinical trial has arrived here at St. Joseph Hospital in Eureka. And the study has commenced.
St. Joseph Hospital will participate as a clinical investigational site for the anti-viral drug Remdesivir for the treatment of moderate and severe COVID-19, reports the Lost Coast Outpost. As it turns out, the hospital’s parent, Providence St. Joseph Health (PSJH), a 51-hospital system, has orchestrated a highly coordinated response to contribute to the war on COVID-19.
St. Joseph Eureka Lands on TSN’s ‘Site Watch Leading’
The only hospital within St. Joseph Health, Northern California to open as a site for this clinical trial, the hospital was selected due to an established relationship with the principal investigator—not to mention the site was proactive in seeking accelerated approval for clinical trials in Humboldt County, reports the Lost Coast Outpost. Because of their commitment to taking on COVID-19, evidenced by their selection by the parent health system, the Eureka, California operation gets placed on TrialSite News’ Site Watch Leading—a recognition of good works reflected by comments from the hospital’s Chief Executive, Dr. Roberta Lustin-Hawk, who noted, “This is an important opportunity for future patients who present with COVID-19 at St. Joseph Hospital and meet certain criteria.”
The Lost Coast is Far from Bethesda…But the Investigator Network is Connected
Dr. Lustin-Hawk who herself is an infectious disease physician, now works as far away from the power and influence of the national research apparatus in the Bethesda—the National Institutes of Health—in fact she is as far away as one could be in the lower 48 states. However, the head of the Eureka-based hospital worked with Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases during the AIDS epidemic.
Dr. Lustin-Hawk noted, “The main goal of the trial is to evaluate the effectiveness and safety of the medication. We are incredibly fortunate to have local expertise in Humboldt to facilitate the trials. The undertaking has required a great deal of work and planning, and we are thrilled to be part of this important work.”
Providence St. Joseph Health (PSJH)
St. Joseph in Eureka is one hospital in a system called Providence St. Joseph Health (PSJH). Led by CEO Rod Hochman, this provider network calls for its providers to be “agents of radical change for health.” A not-for-profit health care system operating in seven western states, they are the parent organization for 100,000 caregivers. The combined system includes 51 hospitals, 829 physician clinics and other health, education and social services across Washington, Oregon, California, Alaska, Montana, New Mexico and Texas. The group acquired Health Management Resources from Merck & Co on January 2020.
PSJH offers a robust clinical research program hence activating many of its hospitals and clinics serving active clinical investigational sites. Their physicians and scientists work side by side to create solutions, ensuring that patients benefit from the latest advancements in prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. With more than 2,300 ongoing clinical trials and research studies, they seek to actively offer advanced treatments and clinical research as care options.
The Digital Commons Initiative
Recently, PSJH announced the launch of their Digital Commons online repository. This serves as an institutional repository to collect and present Providence St. Joseph Health (PSJH) research and other scholarly activity in one convenient, easily navigable location. The health system designed the Digital Commons to activate the voice of PSJH and share their research accomplishments as a world-class research organization.
Hence they have created an impressive repository, organized by Clinical Institutes and Departments with links to available full-text. They have published over 350 publications.
The Principal Investigator for COVID-19 Trial in Eureka
Dr. Igor Abolnik, a local infectious disease doctor, will serve as the principal investigator for the clinical trial. An expert in infectious disease, he accomplished his MD from Hadassah Medical School, Hebrew University, Residency from Methodist Hospital, Memphis, TN, Fellowship, Duke University Medical Center and maintains a variety of relevant certifications.
Call to Action: If you are based in far Northern coastal California and have a loved on diagnosed with COVID-19, consider speaking with St. Joseph Health.