The Scleroderma Patient-centered Intervention Network (SPIN) COVID-19 Cohort and COVID-19 Home-isolation Activities Together (SPIN-CHAT) Trial

People with the autoimmune disease scleroderma are vulnerable in COVID-19 due to frailty, lung involvement, and immunosuppression; they are representative of vulnerable groups in terms of COVID-19 mental health ramifications. No previous randomized controlled trials have tested mental health interventions during infectious disease outbreaks. We leveraged our existing ongoing cohort of over 2,000 people with scleroderma and existing partnerships to launch a new cohort, the Scleroderma Patient-centered Intervention Network (SPIN)-COVID- 19 Cohort. We enrolled over 800 people in the cohort to assess mental health during COVID-19. The SPIN-CHAT trial is embedded in the cohort and will test a 4-week (3x/week) videoconference intervention that provides social support and positive mental health education. The primary outcome is anxiety symptoms. SPIN-CHAT is being tested among people with scleroderma, but could be used with any population of vulnerable individuals who are isolated and experiencing high levels of anxiety in COVID-19, such as people with pre-existing medical conditions or older persons.

Faculty Supervisor:

Brett Thombs;Andrea Benedetti


Zelalem Firisa Negeri


Scleroderma Canada


Epidemiology / Public health and policy


Other services (except public administration)


McGill University


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