The sixth large-scale medical study to use Apple's iPhone and ResearchKit software to collect data kicks off this month. The University of California San Francisco will debut what it's calling the Pride Study this month, which will survey gay, lesbian, queer, bisexual, and transsexual iPhone users about risk factors including HIV/AIDS, smoking, cancer, obesity, and depression, according to a report from Buzzfeed.
UCSF is timing the Pride Study to coincide with the San Francisco Pride parade, which is taking place on June 27. If you have "self-identified as a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, or other sexual or gender minority" and you live in the United States, you can participate in the study by downloading the Pride Study app from the App Store.
"The purpose of this community-based study is to gather research questions and health priortieis that are important to the LGBTQ community and to test functionality of an iPhone app for this research," the study's consent form reads.
After participants download the app, they will be asked to complete a survey with deomgraphic information as well as questions that determine elgibility for the study. The Pride Study app asks for a number of device permissions, such as GPS. It uses that information to produce a questionaire that lists locations you've visited in prior days, such as hospitals.
According to UCSF, the study will last until late 2015 or early 2016 and will take "10-15 minutes each week," and certain participants will be asked to join a related but separate long-term study. There is no payment for participating in the study.
The Pride Study is the first new study to use Apple's ResearchKit framework since it was first revealed alongside five studies in March. ResearchKit is a set of tools which makes it easier for researchers to collect data from iPhones, which could improve research by significantly increasing the number of observations -- it's a lot easier for subjects to answer questions on their phone than to report back to a university or hospital for data collection. One ResearchKit app studies Parkinsons by using the iPhone's accelerometer to measure how steadily a participant walks.
Apple's CEO, Tim Cook, said he was "proud to be gay" in a article published in Bloomberg last fall. Previously, he had marched alongside gay and lesbian Apple employees at San Franciso's Pride parade.
The Pride Study is only open to iPhone users at the moment, although the researchers promise that a web-based interface will be soon be available for people who want to participate but use another type of phone.