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Duke celebrates Project Baseline Health Study

Duke recently kicked off the third year of the Project Baseline Health Study, reaching the midpoint of the study as Duke CTSI sites in Durham and Kannapolis began welcoming back participants for their third of five on-site visits.

Dr. Svati H. Shah, principal investigator for the Duke site, thanked everyone who made this milestone possible. She offered special thanks to friends and partners at DCRI for a remarkable, ongoing collaboration. The Project Baseline Health Study is a unique and groundbreaking initiative between Duke, Stanford and Verily.

Shah noted that Duke has contributed significant diversity to the study’s cohort — diversity in race, ethnicity, age, gender, and health and disease characteristics. Most importantly, she said, the Duke study team always keeps the participant first and foremost, and at the center of the entire process. 

“The Duke Baseline study team has worked tirelessly to deliver a remarkable experience for every single Duke participant. And Duke study leadership has demonstrated an unceasing commitment to excellence and scientific integrity,” Shah said. “We will see incredible, life-changing scientific breakthroughs come from Project Baseline, thanks to all of you!”

Duke Launches Project Baseline Study Enrollment in North Carolina

Duke University School of Medicine launched the Project Baseline study in North Carolina with the enrollment of Duke’s first participant in Kannapolis on June 29, 2017.

The study is the first initiative of Project Baseline, an ambitious effort to develop a well-defined “baseline” of human health and a rich data platform to help researchers better understand health and disease and the transitions between them.
Continue reading Duke Launches Project Baseline Study Enrollment in North Carolina

A Note From Your Principal Investigator

Greetings MURDOCK Study participants,

I wanted you to be among the first to know about an exciting new study opportunity in Kannapolis at the Duke Clinical & Translational Science Institute (CTSI) on the North Carolina Research Campus.

The Project Baseline study is a groundbreaking collaboration between Duke, Verily, Stanford Medicine, and Google. Thanks to you, the MURDOCK Study has paved the way for new initiatives in Kannapolis like the Project Baseline study. The very first person enrolled by Duke into the study is also a MURDOCK Study participant!

With the MURDOCK Study as the foundation, Duke’s work in Kannapolis — called Translational Population Health Research, or TransPop — continues to grow. As we like to say, Duke’s Kannapolis office is #MURDOCKandMore!

The Project Baseline study is on a mission to develop a well-defined “baseline” of human health. It starts with contributions from approximately 10,000 individuals who will be followed for at least four years.

You may register online at and be considered for the study if you:

  • Are at least 18 years old
  • Are a resident of the United States
  • Speak and read English or Spanish
  • Do not have a severe allergy to nickel or metal jewelry

Enrollment and the initial study visit in Kannapolis includes multiple health tests and donations of blood, urine, saliva, tears, and other biological samples. The study will collect data about each participant’s sleep, diet, exercise and physical activity, cardiovascular function, genetic makeup, and other information. Participants use special sensors to contribute data around the clock, including Verily Study Watch, an investigational device.

The most important partner in the Project Baseline study, however, is not an academic institution, a doctor, scientist, or piece of technology. It is participants. From the first step, participants are at the center of this unique endeavor as we work together toward a healthier tomorrow for future generations.

 This ambitious study aims to:

  • Better understand the transition from health to disease
  • Identify risk factors for disease
  • Harness technology’s full power to collect, visualize and understand health data
  • Help people live longer, healthier lives

I encourage you to learn more about this exciting opportunity by visiting or calling toll-free 855-5-BASELINE (855-522-7354), Monday-Friday 8 a.m.–11 p.m. or Saturday 10 a.m.–7 p.m.

 Please remember to fill out your Annual Follow-Up Form when the MURDOCK Study team contacts you around the anniversary of your enrollment.

 Thank you!


Dr. Kristin Newby
MURDOCK Study principal investigator

Follow-Up Hall of Fame

Congratulations and thank you to the 10 newest members of the Follow-Up Hall of Fame! These MURDOCK participants were randomly chosen from among the hundreds who marked five years of completing Annual Follow-Up Forms as of the previous quarter. Be sure to ll out your Annual Follow-Up Form each year for a chance to have your name listed in the Hall of Fame.

  • Juanita Mitten
  • Lillian Brightman
  • Ron Charbonneau
  • Charlene Goff
  • Jacquelin Magni
  • Bobby Puckett
  • Heather Nodeland
  • Heather Trexler
  • Larry Shaver
  • Natasha Krueger

Congratulations, Follow-Up Raffle Winner Gloria Rucker!

Gloria Rucker of Concord fills out her Annual Follow-Up Form every year. This time, she won the $150 prize in a random drawing of those who had completed their forms.

“I was shocked,” she said. “People should fill out their form quickly, as soon as they get it. They might be a winner like me.”

Rucker battled multiple myeloma last year and survived thanks to a stem cell transplant in August 2016. She spent 15 days in the hospital and is now in remission.

She said she feels it’s important for MURDOCK Study participants who become sick to tell researchers by filling out their Annual Follow-Up Forms every year.

“I want to make sure that you continue to know about my health as it changes,” she said.

A longtime Cabarrus County teacher assistant and bus driver, Rucker retired in 2008 after working at W.R. Odell Elementary and Weddington Hills Elementary for 30 years. She enjoys serving her church, Rock Hill AME Zion, and has a son who is a student at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College.

For her prize, she chose a gift card to Olive Garden so she could share her good fortune with husband Larry Rucker, who is also enrolled in the MURDOCK Study.

Journal publishes TAPS Tool paper

In 2014-2015, MURDOCK Study staff enrolled participants in the Tobacco, Alcohol, Prescription Medication, and Other Substance Use (TAPS) Tool Study in collaboration with three other groups as part of a consortium under the National Institutes on Drug Abuse (NIDA). This study evaluated screening methods for substance abuse in primary care patients.

Participants from Kannapolis were recruited from primary care practice lobbies and, after initial screening, asked to complete a questionnaire and donate a cheek swab sample. The questionnaire covered topics about the use of substances such as alcohol and tobacco, and answers were corroborated by cheek swab samples. Researchers then compared the percentage of matches between self-reported information and findings from the cheek swabs to current methods of screening substance use in primary care patients.

We are thrilled to share that on Sept. 6, “Performance of the Tobacco, Alcohol, Prescription Medication and Other Substance Use (TAPS) Tool for Substance Use Screening in Primary Care Patients” was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. The paper describes the hard work contributed by MURDOCK Study staff and collaborators in enrolling 2,000 participants, and highlights a promising new way to detect substance use disorders. The paper was written by Jennifer McNeely, MD, MS and co-authored by Li-Tzy Wu, PhD, professor of psychiatry and professor of medicine at Duke and director of the Mid Southern Node.

A note from your principal investigator

Greetings, MURDOCK Study participants!

As you can tell from your newsletter, Duke-Kannapolis has an incredible amount of exciting activity underway, including ramping up new studies and collaborations that will provide not only novel insights into health and disease, but new enrollment opportunities for our participants. Recruitment has begun for the MURDOCK COPD Study, and our team is preparing to open enrollment for a landmark study that will enroll thousands of people in North Carolina and California who have or are at risk of developing cancer or heart disease, as well as healthy volunteers. Look for more information about this breakthrough study soon.

These new research projects based in Kannapolis, along with others that will follow in the coming months and years, are a direct result of the MURDOCK Study, one of the largest and most unique studies of its kind. Your dedication and participation have been crucial to successfully building a community registry of more than 12,200 participants and nearly 460,000 biological samples, available to approved investigators from around the world to advance research and help develop precision health and medicine.

With a successful closeout of enrollment for studies including Healthy Aging, Multiple Sclerosis, and Memory and Cognitive Health the MURDOCK Study is evolving and transitioning into a new phase of disease-specific research using samples and data from existing and future cohorts. We are intently focused on annual follow-up and engaging you, our participants, in how researchers are using your samples and data to address health questions important to you and the local community. We will continue to keep you informed of the many ways that your role as a clinical research pioneer in Kannapolis and greater Cabarrus County is making a difference. We offer heartfelt gratitude for your participation and ask for your continued support by filling out your Annual Follow-Up form every year as part of Project Blue.

Finally, I would like to thank everyone who attended the Duke Dash 5K & Healthfest, which drew 251 runners and hundreds of others to celebrate their dedication to health and wellness. The MURDOCK Study team is both proud and humbled to have to opportunity to serve this community.






L. Kristin Newby, MD, MHS

Principal Investigator, MURDOCK Study

Professor, Duke Medicine

A note from your principal investigator

The MURDOCK Study heats up this summer

Greetings, MURDOCK Study participants!

Welcome, summertime! While the pace of life often slows in the summer, the MURDOCK Study continues moving full speed ahead. We hope you enjoyed the Study Roundup in the spring newsletter, which highlighted studies currently underway. In this issue, we feature additional strategies identified as priorities for 2016:

Study Results: We are excited to share a synopsis of research results for different projects that are part of the MURDOCK Study. Each project has its own goals and criteria, but all share the common thread of using valuable assets of the MURDOCK Study — engaging participants, analyzing samples and data, or utilizing the Duke-MURDOCK team to get a study up and running in Kannapolis. Visit for more details about each study in our Research Roundup. We are thrilled to team up with you — our participants— to contribute to promising research.

Project Blue: We’re rolling out a new phase of the MURDOCK Study called Project Blue, focused on the importance of annual follow-up and longitudinal research. The MURDOCK Study is a longitudinal study, which means we need to collect data year after year so researchers can see how the health of participants changes over time. Longitudinal research is very helpful in determining patterns related to health and disease. More data from large groups — like the more than 12,000 MURDOCK Study participants— can provide rich information and insights for precision medicine and ultimately, yield better research results.

Project Blue is a new and exciting way to encourage our participants — YOU!— to follow-up. Starting this fall, Annual Follow-Up Forms will arrive in blue envelopes marked with the distinctive Project Blue logo. Watch for your blue envelope to arrive around the anniversary of your enrollment into the MURDOCK Study.

COPD: Read about our newest study, which will begin recruitment this summer.

Precision medicine is making headlines. As a reminder, the concept behind precision medicine is that doctors will use a person’s genetic, clinical, social and environmental characteristics to tailor prevention and treatment strategies to that individual. The MURDOCK Study has been helping to advance this “new” vision of precision medicine since 2007! With your help, we will continue to make strides and contribute to our understanding of health and disease.

Stay cool and enjoy our newsletter!

Sincerely yours,

L. Kristin Newby, MD, MHS
Principal Investigator, MURDOCK Study

Healthy Aging Study needs people 80 or older

Are you at least 80 years old? Do you know someone who is? You may be able to help Duke University achieve an important enrollment goal for the MURDOCK Study.

Duke needs about 70 people who are at least 80 years old to enroll in the Healthy Aging Study, a MURDOCK substudy that aims to help scientists better understand aging.

The Healthy Aging Study, which started in 2012, has already enrolled more than 900 people (that’s 91 percent of our goal of 1,000 participants)! But now, researchers need to enroll more people who are at least 80 years old and live in or near Cabarrus County.

The Healthy Aging Study will provide an important basis for scientists’ understanding of the changes that take place when people age. Researchers are interested in the physical, environmental, and genetic factors that contribute to age-related changes in a person’s physical and cognitive capabilities.

Participants in this study are asked to complete brief physical and cognitive assessments when they enroll, and then repeat these assessments two years later during a follow-up visit. More than 300 participants have already returned for their second visit. They receive a four-page report that compares their performance to their rst visit and gives them recommendations on healthy aging.

“It is gratifying to see how the people of Kannapolis and surrounding areas have given their time for this very important study,” said Miriam C. Morey, PhD, principal investigator for the Healthy Aging Study and a Duke University expert on exercise and aging. “We are facing a huge growth in the number of people who are expected to survive longer than ever before. This study will help us to optimize healthy aging.”

Eligible patients must:

  • Be at least 80 years old
  • Live in Cabarrus County, Kannapolis, China Grove, Landis, or the

    surrounding area (see zip code map)

  • Be able to walk 30 feet without help from a person (devices like

    canes and walkers are allowed)

  • Have no diagnosis or treatment for any of the following in the past

    six months: heart attack, congestive heart failure, angina, or uid in the lungs

    To join the study, participants are asked to:

  • Provide a blood sample
  • Complete a medical questionnaire about general health
  • Undergo a brief physical and cognitive assessment
  • Wear a small accelerometer on the waist or belt to measure activity

    levels for seven days (maybe)

  • Attend a follow-up visit after two years, including repeat blood

    samples and physical and cognitive assessments

    Compensation is provided for time and travel. To learn more about the Healthy Aging Study or to enroll, please call Study Coordinator Christy Flynn at 704-250-5854 or email christy.

    Anyone who has not been contacted yet, missed our call, or previously declined but would now like to enroll or complete a follow-up visit is encouraged to call 704-250-5854.

The Importance of Annual Follow-Up

A note from our principal investigator

kristin newby

Greetings, MURDOCK Study participants!

Whether it happened last month, last year, or as far back as 2009, you all made the same decision—to join Duke University’s MURDOCK Study. You selflessly contributed your time, health history, and biological samples to help researchers find ways to improve the health and quality of life for future generations. There are nearly 12,000 of you today, making the Duke-MURDOCK Study one of the largest population health research initiatives of its kind. Thank you!

Now, we hope you will do something just as important as enrolling in the study—complete your Annual Follow-Up Form each year. Retention is a key metric of success of the MURDOCK Study, and the information collected in our Annual Follow-Up Form is crucial to researchers using MURDOCK Study samples and data. Every completed Annual Follow-Up Form is a valuable part of this unique community-based research project.

If you have been filling out your Annual Follow-Up Form, thank you! If you haven’t, it’s never too late. Please complete your form, even if you’ve missed a year or two or accidentally let your enrollment anniversary pass. Filling out your form is easier than ever. Choose one of these convenient options:

  • Use the link to an electronic form that arrives via email about a month before your enrollment anniversary (for instance, if you enrolled in November, you will receive your email in October)
  • Complete the paper form that we mail to your home address every year;
  • Request a paper form by calling (704) 250-5861 or emailing; or
  • Download a paper form here.

MURDOCK study and more