ITM & Its Collaborators Launch Social Movement to Team Up the Public & Researchers in Fight Against COVID-19 & Other Diseases

Be the new normal LOGO
The Institute for Translational Medicine (ITM) and its collaborators have launched a social movement for health research and a matchmaking platform for the public to easily find opportunities to volunteer and for researchers to connect with people interested in joining their studies. This tool is being made available early as part of an emergency response to fight COVID-19. Scientists in all areas of health research can also use this platform to connect with the public so their study teams can hit the ground running as soon as operations resume.
“We all know one of the biggest slowdowns in doing health research is finding the people to participate,” said Julian Solway, MD, Director of the Institute for Translational Medicine (ITM) and Dean for Translational Medicine at UChicago. “The world needs more answers faster than ever as our teams race to find COVID-19 treatments and vaccines.”
COVID-19 has infected more than 1.7 million people in the U.S. and killed more than 100,000 individuals. Little is known about the virus, and scientists have created more than 1,600 clinical trials to hunt for answers and cures. But those trials cannot take place without volunteers participating in them.

“It doesn’t matter if you have the best scientists or the most promising study,” said Joshua J. Jacobs, MD, Rush University Medical College’s Vice Dean for Research and Director of the Institute for Translational Medicine (ITM). “Clinical trails can’t happen and discoveries can’t be made without the public’s participation – and that starts with awareness and access.”

The New Normal (TNN)™ movement’s goal is to increase public awareness of health research and give everyone equal access to jargon-free information about studies that need volunteers. The platform, called TNN Match, makes those opportunities available on a mobile-friendly platform in an approachable tone.

“Researchers are often fluent in a scientific language that the rest of the world doesn’t understand,” said Sara Serritella, Director of The New Normal™ movement. “TNN breaks down communication barriers and engages local communities, patients, scientists, and local and national experts to make health research accessible for everyone.”
Healthy volunteers, those who are sick, and survivors are all needed in the hunt for COVID-19 answers, treatments, and vaccines. TNN launched early to help fight the pandemic, and more and more studies are being added all the time. People can sign up and receive notifications when they could be a good match for a study, or they can find health topics they care about and express interest in those studies to connect with a research team. This saves everyone time and money trying to find each other in a health research world that is mostly online because of COVID-19.
Some studies can even be done from the comfort of home.
The New Normal™ movement is funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and made possible through the collaboration of nine top hospitals and universities: University of Chicago, Rush University, Northwestern University, University of Illinois at Chicago, Loyola University Chicago, NorthShore University Health System, Illinois Institute of Technology, Advocate Aurora Health, and the University of Michigan.

More than $1.5 million and 10 years of user-centered design have gone into it, and TNN Match is now available to the public and all ITM study teams for free thanks to the leadership of the ITM.

“This is a momentous collaboration among NIH Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) Program hubs,” said Lainie Ross, MD, PhD, Professor of Pediatrics, Director of the ITM, and Associate Director of the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics. “We’re grateful to everyone for their partnership and for quickly mobilizing to make health research opportunities easily accessible to the public during this pandemic.”

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For the Public

For Researchers and Study Teams

About The New Normal™ Movement

The New Normal™ Campaign is championed by the Institute for Translational Medicine (ITM), a partnership between the University of Chicago and Rush University in collaboration with Advocate Aurora Health, the Illinois Institute of Technology (Illinois Tech)Loyola University Chicago, and NorthShore University HealthSystem, as well as the Northwestern University Clinical and Translational Sciences (NUCATS) Institute and the University of Illinois at Chicago Center for Clinical and Translational Science (CCTS). The ITM, NUCATS, and CCTS are fueled by nearly $80 million from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Center for Advancing Translational Science (NCATS) Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) ProgramThe Michigan Institute for Clinical & Health Research shared its technology to help connect the public with research opportunities for this initiative.  The New Normal™ initiative is also supported by the Chicago Department of Public Health and other regional and national partners who believe in empowering everyone to get involved in making discoveries to improve human health. Learn more and join at


Sara Serritella
Director of ITM Communications
Director of The New Normal™ Movement

This project is supported by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) through Grant Number UL1TR002389 that supports the Institute for Translational Medicine (ITM); Grant Number UL1TR001422 that supports NUCATS; Grant Number UL1TR002003 that supports the Center for Clinical and Translational Science (CCTS); and Grant Number UL1TR002240 that supports the Michigan Institute for Clinical & Health Research (MICHR). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH.