UC launches Pandemic Recovery and Readiness Research Initiative

The University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) launched the California Collaborative for Pandemic Recovery and Readiness Research (CPR3), a research initiative to investigate the effects of the pandemic on California communities and individuals. The new research program aims to leverage lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic to inform future public health policies and investments. The research is led by Principal Investigator Priya Shete, MD, associate professor of medicine and epidemiology and biostatistics at UCSF.

CPR3 is a joint program between UCSF, the California Health and Human Services Agency, and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). A critical component of the initiative is to fund University of California (UC)-wide research to bring together UC investigators, public health experts, and community members. The goal of the initiative is to help inform and guide future pandemic recovery and readiness efforts for the state of California. CPR3 is funded through an $8.5 million CDPH grant.

“Collaboration across the state is a core tenet of CPR3,” Shete said. “We want to harness the rich depth of experience and expertise that exists throughout the UC system into a think-tank of sorts, to make the greatest impact we can for the residents of California.”

In addition to pandemic recovery, CPR3 will also explore how the state as a whole – public health officials, researchers, communities, and individuals alike – can be better prepared to face future pandemics. This includes strengthening surveillance mechanisms, learning to identify new threats, and identifying crucial evidence to inform policies and investments.

“Public health officials in California continue to be focused on the long-term impact of the pandemic on the lives and livelihoods of communities and individuals,” said CDPH Director Tomás Aragón, MD. “We are focused on two key things: how to help the state recover from the pandemic in an equitable way, and how to be prepared for the next major surge, variant, or pathogen. CPR3 will inform public health policy, planning, and decision-making, now and in the future.”

CPR3 receives guidance from a scientific steering committee composed of leaders in public health, policy, and equity. Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, MD, PhD, Editor in Chief of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) and the JAMA Network, chairs the CPR3 steering committee. Bibbins-Domingo notes that equity is a guiding principle for the initiative.

“We know that the pandemic hit some particularly hard, especially those in underserved and marginalized communities. Therefore, for CPR3, the team will view all of its operations through the lens of equity,” she said. “That way, the CPR3 initiative can help to ensure that all Californians experience a sense of renewed health and well-being.”

CPR3 Program Next Steps

Shete has assembled a multidisciplinary team with experience in research, public health policy, grants administration, and program coordination and evaluation. This UCSF-based team is working closely with CDPH experts to execute all program activities to develop and operationalize a targeted research agenda aligned to local public health needs now and in the future.

Shete’s CPR3 vision includes funding researchers in disciplines beyond the typical medical and health fields, such as those working in education, economics, public policy, anthropology, and beyond. In addition to an emphasis on cross-UC collaboration, the CPR3 program team will work with community members throughout the state to ensure the program will have a positive impact on the lives of everyday Californians.

“Recovery means helping all Californians achieve a level of health, well-being, and resilience that is better than it was before the pandemic,” said State Epidemiologist Erica Pan, MD. “Pandemic recovery research under CPR3 will investigate longer-term impacts of the pandemic, like the effects on the development, mental health, and overall wellness of children.”

Program funds support the identification of research priority areas, the administration of a series of Requests for Proposals to support research on these priority areas, and the report of research findings. The CPR3 team’s first major step is to identify and outline research priority areas; the team has received initial guidance from the steering committee and is working to further refine priority areas. Once research areas are announced, UC campuses and investigators will be eligible to submit proposals aligned to these priorities.

For more information about the CPR3 program, visit cpr3.ucsf.edu. To get resources on COVID-19, including locations for COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters, visit covid19.ca.gov.