Between the COVID-19 pandemic, incurable diseases, and mental health struggles, this past year has officially gone to the dogs.
And canines aren’t taking it lying down.
They’re taking over social media, billboards, transit ads, and more sharing why they want to Save Da Hoomans in a campaign from Rush’s Institute for Translational Medicine and top Chicago universities that’s funded by the National Institutes of Health. Those institutions that are setting aside business for the greater good include the University of Chicago, Northwestern, Loyola University Chicago, the University of Illinois at Chicago and others.
“This public awareness campaign is through the eyes of our pets,” said Joshua J. Jacobs, MD, director of the institute and vice dean for research, Rush University Medical College. “Pet adoption and sales have soared during the pandemic, making our animals the perfect messengers to get through to us.”
Jacobs’ dog, Walter, is one of the canines asking humans to sign up for a free site that connects people with info on the latest health research opportunities on everything from COVID-19 to cancer to mental health. Humans choose what health topics they’re interested in, and they get notifications about research opportunities they can do to help make discoveries.
“We can’t understand the long-term impacts on COVID-19 survivors or find new treatments or cures for diseases like cancer or mental illness without people volunteering to participate in health research studies,” said Julian Solway, MD, director of the institute and dean for Translational Medicine at UChicago.
Lola the Weather Beagle, the pet of ABC7 meteorologist Cheryl Scott and restaurateur Dante Deiana, along with other dog friends are blazing the trail.
“We’re so proud of Lola for mobilizing the dogs,” said Scott, whose 12-year-old dog accompanies her on many newscasts. “Lola has grown up watching me in a STEM field, and Save Da Hoomans captures all the things she loves in a cause that’s using science to help people live healthier, longer lives.”
The corps of dogs is growing, and their humans include local celebrities as well as prominent attorneys, teachers, business leaders, community members, yogis, and local animal rescues.
“Dogs live for us and are tired of seeing us struggle with physical and mental health issues,” said Sara Serritella, ITM director of communications and UChicago lecturer. “They know the answers can only be sniffed out with science if we all participate, and they’re mobilizing because they ultimately need us in their lives as much as we need them.”
Follow along on social @SaveDaHoomans on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, YouTube, and Twitter to meet the dogs and hear their stories, as well as why their humans care about finding ways to live better lives and cure diseases. Humans can listen to the dogs and sign up at SaveDaHoomans.org and post their own photos using the hashtag #SaveDaHoomans to join the fun.
About Save Da Hoomans
The Save Da Hoomans campaign is about dogs mobilizing to help save their humans from physical and mental health issues so that they can live longer, happier, healthier lives together. Follow their stories on social media @SaveDaHoomans and learn more at SaveDaHoomans.org.
Save Da Hoomans is part of The New Normal Campaign that’s championed by the Institute for Translational Medicine (ITM), a partnership between the University of Chicago and Rush University in collaboration with Advocate Health Care, the Illinois Institute of Technology, 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 National Center for Advancing Translational Science Clinical and Translational Science Awards Program. The 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 at www.bethenewnormal.org.