What happens when you combine a celebrity doctor, cancer researchers, social media, and experts in distributed computing? An Army of Women over 340 000 strong and growing, standing ready to participate in innovative research projects such as the Health of Women study.
“The percentage of people who participate in clinical studies is very low,” said Naz Sykes, executive director of the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation. “Our goal is to educate the public about the importance of research, the importance of taking part in research ... throughout their lifecycle.”
That’s why the DSLRF joined forces with the Avon Foundation for Women to create the Army of Women website. Collaborating with the Beckman Research Institute, City of Hope, and the National Cancer Institute’s Cancer Biomedical Informatics Grid to create the Health of Women study was simply the logical next step.
“No one has ever done an online longitudinal study,” explained Sykes. “The ultimate goal is that we’re going to drill down and answer the questions women have always wanted to know. Even the stupid questions like does hair dye cause cancer, or do underwire bras cause breast cancer. We know that there’s very little chance that they do, but through the Health of Women study we’ll be able to confirm that.”
Launching a questionnaire that could handle thousands of responses in the space of a few weeks is no easy task.