UCSF IRB Facilitates Transfer of UC-wide Dataset to NIH’s National COVID Cohort Collaborative’s Centralized Data Resource

As COVID cases increase and variants spread, researchers need access to a wide variety of data to better understand the disease. To make this possible, the National Institutes of Health awarded the University of California a $500,000 grant to gather the data and make it easily accessible. In a first for UC Health, patient data was transferred as a whole from the UC systemwide COVID Research Data Set (CORDS) into the NIH’s National COVID Cohort Collaborative’s (N3C) centralized data resource. "The geographic distribution of UC hospitals across California means the data pulls from a broad section of the state's diverse population," noted the UC Health press release accompanying the announcement of UC CORDS.

The single data transfer was made possible through efforts of UCOP’s Center for Data-driven Insights and Innovation (CDI2) and UC Biomedical Research Acceleration, Integration and Development (UC BRAID), a coalition of all five UC medical centers – those at Davis Irvine, Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco – with NIH funding for translational research. “Rather than going to each of our campuses, we fashioned an agreement where we would share our entire database,” said Dan Cooper, BRAID Chair at the time of transfer.

To streamline the process, the campuses agreed that a single IRB should review the proposal, with the other campuses relying on the UC San Francisco IRB. With both a centralized IRB and dataset, UC is efficiently and securely providing data to researchers on California’s COVID patients, disproportionately people of color, to be represented in the NIH’s national data enclave.