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Faces of Baseline: Meet Trell

| Written by:
Tina Karimi

Tina Karimi

Contributing Editor, Verily

Trell Millhouse, 47, joined the Project Baseline Health Study because he wants research to enable a better understanding of health and disease in people of different races.

Two years later, that desire is still motivating Trell to return for his follow-up study visits in Kannapolis, N.C., where he enrolled with Duke University School of Medicine.

“My hope for Baseline is that it makes new discoveries that go beyond the stereotypical understanding — or really the misunderstanding — of how people of different races fight diseases or get diseases,” Trell said. “I hope Baseline helps cure the myths out there about race and health.”

A hair stylist by trade, Trell has always been healthy. He loves sports and played basketball in high school. Nine years ago, he became certified and now officiates basketball, volleyball and softball games.

His competitive spirit has become part of his Baseline participant journey, as well. Trell said he likes to compare his data and results from each study visit to the year before, and he aims to improve measurements like his step count.

“As I’ve started to understand clinical research, I’m very interested in how daily choices like diet and exercise can impact health,” he said.

When Trell is not cutting hair or officiating a ballgame, he’s probably in the kitchen. He discovered as an adult that he loves to cook and finds it peaceful. He prepares meals for the entire week on Sunday or Monday, and he’s a big fan of cooking on cast iron and experimenting with his grill, including once baking a cake on the grill. He asks for and often receives a behind-the-scenes peek at the kitchen in restaurants that impress him.

Don’t ask Trell to choose between NASCAR and the Carolina Panthers football team — he’s passionate and extremely knowledgeable about both. And now, he’s also passionate about clinical research and Project Baseline.

“It’s great to be part of this study,” he said. “I hope it will continue to expand.”

Next story: Creating the human health map

Project Baseline was created to map human health, but who is responsible for thinking about what data we collect to build that map and how to make it actionable?