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2020 Roundup and 2021 Predictions from Baseline

2020 was a year like no other. In the face of the greatest public health challenge in a century, the Baseline team was honored to play a part in supporting public health experts, researchers, and communities in their efforts to address the pandemic. While the year was difficult for many, we remained inspired by the research participants who make Baseline possible. Here are our predictions for what’s on the horizon for 2021, and top five moments of 2020.

"In 2021, many countries will begin vaccination programs that will hopefully provide a powerful tool in combating the pandemic. At Baseline, we will continue to support research and trials to better understand COVID-19 and support treatments and vaccines."

- Casimir Starsiak, Lead, Project Baseline

"Organizations that do clinical research have a common vision for the future: a more patient-centric world where research is accessible to everyone. To make that vision a reality, we need systems that talk to one another, enable real-world data capture, and help us understand that data in new ways. One of our 2021 goals at Baseline is to continue building a unified platform that helps researchers deliver the experience patients need, while conducting high-quality science."

- Jelena Pjesivac-Grbovic, Head of Engineering, Project Baseline

"COVID-19 has accelerated the adoption of telehealth and virtual care. We anticipate that telemedicine will remain a significant part of medical practice into 2021 and beyond. We also believe that in the coming years, we'll see a similar movement in clinical research.

Project Baseline was created to bring the benefits of greater accessibility and technologically-enabled participation to research and care. We look forward to continuing to build on that momentum and making research participation easier and more rewarding."

- Jessica Mega, Chief Medical and Scientific Officer, Verily

Baseline’s Top 5 2020 Highlights

5. Baseline COVID-19 Testing Program Launch- In the early days of this pandemic, it was clear that COVID-19 was overwhelming countries. As a group of scientists, clinicians, and engineers, we began to contemplate what we could do to support a critical public health crisis.

In conversation with federal, state, and county agencies, we heard about the primary roadblocks to respond, including scalable risk screening and testing capacity. We were asked by the agencies to contribute however we could, and moved with great urgency to develop The Baseline COVID-19 Testing Program. This required a foundational system that enables secure collection and storage of health information, and we used the existing Project Baseline platform, which is purpose-built for this use. More than 1.7 million individuals have received testing through the Baseline COVID-19 Testing Program, which streamlines the process from screening to testing to return of results.

The Baseline COVID-19 Testing Program supports community-based testing across 15 states.

4. Baseline COVID-19 Research Project - We launched the Baseline COVID-19 Research Project in order to advance the scientific understanding of COVID-19. Participants who choose to join have access to relevant clinical studies and research activities, which may include scientific research and testing of new tools, treatments or interventions.

One of our first initiatives, Baseline Antibody Research, focused on the human immune response to infection. To learn more about the results from this research, check out this video.

3. Building resilience together - A core part of our mission is making research easily accessible to people, and providing them with useful information that can help them live healthier lives. Members of our research communities complete regular online research activities on health topics that can range from habits to feelings and emotions.

During the pandemic, the Baseline community reported increased emotional strain. We called upon our mental health experts, Danielle Schlosser, PhD, Senior Clinical Scientist and Alanna Robinson, LICSW, Mental Health Coach, to lead a virtual event for Baseline members focused on building resilience and coping with adversity. If you missed the event, you can watch the video here.

2. First research grants - Research Goes Red, a collaboration between the American Heart Association's Go Red for Women and Project Baseline, has awarded two grants to researchers to engage women as partners in research. The studies are focused on:

  • Exploring women's health at the intersection of menopause, weight and health habits.
  • Understanding connections between social media use, health information and heart disease in millennial women.

We look forward to sharing more about the studies, including eligibility criteria, in 2021.

1. Launching new research opportunities - While we have a comprehensive map of the world, we don't yet have an equally detailed understanding of all areas of human health.  This year, we aimed to fill in more of the human health map. To learn more about open opportunities, you can visit projectbaseline.com.

To our participants, now more than ever, we thank you for your contributions to helping us all lead healthier lives. We look forward to discovering even more together in the years to come.

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