CHOC hematologist appointed to national COVID-19 therapy evaluation oversight committee

Dr. Diane Nugent has been named co-chair of the Steering Committee for the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) Collaborating Network of Networks for Evaluating COVID-19 and Therapeutic Strategies, or CONNECTS, which will coalesce projects into a national, coordinated effort. She will also serve on the Executive committee for CONNECTS to facilitate the rapid turnaround and implementation of these grants throughout the country.

In addition to her work at CHOC, Dr. Nugent, in this new role, will help fulfill the objectives and ensure compliance for CONNECTS, which will be will be responsible for selection, implementation and analysis of all COVID clinical trials; data streams; biorepository/cohorts; and molecular and phenotypic correlations with the overarching mission to fast track therapies and vaccines that are validated through the hypothesis driven process and proven truly effective.  

“I am honored to help advance the body of knowledge around COVID-19 treatments and contribute meaningfully to work that is so critically needed as we confront this global crisis,” says Dr. Nugent, medical director of hematology at CHOC. “I also wish to stress the importance of research specifically in children and patients with chronic disease to help us understand why certain individuals are at high risk and how this infection impacts health at various ages, and over time. We are beginning to see the late and long-term effects in patients now and need to be prepared for future evolution of disorders in the heart, lung, blood vessels and brain over the next years and decades.”

Dr. Diane Nugent, medical director of hematology at CHOC Children’s

CONNECTS is an integration of major NHLBI clinical networks to collaboratively and efficiently conduct clinical trials while ensuring standardization, shared resources and data, and flexibility to nimbly shift studies as needed based on new knowledge and the changing pandemic clinical landscape. Master protocol-driven adaptive platform trials will be aligned with, or formally part of, National Institutes of Health’s Accelerating COVID-19 Therapeutic Interventions and Vaccines (ACTIV) Initiative.

CONNECTS is directed by NHLBI in collaboration with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ Operation Warp Speed, and NIH initiatives.

The Executive and Steering committees are charged with overseeing the design, implementation, and analysis of CONNECTS study protocols, including:

  • interpretation, presentation and publication of results;
  • use of common data elements and data standards across CONNECTS study protocols; and
  • sharing of data, biospecimens, images, and other research products developed by CONNECTS.

A prolific author on innovative medicine, Dr. Nugent has coauthored more than 100 journal articles and book chapters. She specializes in all aspects of hematology, bone marrow failure, anemias, immune disorders, bleeding and clotting disorders. Her clinical and research interests include blood disorders, bone marrow failure, bleeding and clotting disorders, and white cell and immune deficiencies.

Refer a patient to a CHOC Children’s hematologist.