Because of restrictions due to the pandemic, 2021 was a challenging year for Helsinki Biobank events, which we were obliged to hold online contrary to our original plans. On the other hand, our expertise in implementing hybrid and online events increased during the year.
We organized events with various partners locally and nationwide. As in the previous year, the best results by far came from our TV campaign. Despite the challenges, the events attained the goals set for them and projected a positive message of the importance of biobank operations as part of patient care, now and in the future.
In the campaign ‘Annatko luvan?’ [Will you give your consent?], we collected biobank consents and blood samples from the public. We ran the campaign jointly with Auria Biobank, Northern Finland Biobank Borealis, the Tampere Biobank, the Central Finland Biobank, the Eastern Finland Biobank, and Suomen Terveystalo Biobank. The campaign was seen and heard on TV and radio, at shopping centers and in outdoor advertising all over Finland. Indeed, the campaign was one of the most successful and positively noted campaigns of the year. As a result of the campaign, the number of electronic consents doubled, and the number of samples collected at clinics increased by one third.
The online event ‘Näkymätön meissä’ [Invisible within us] was streamed live at the University of Helsinki’s Science Corner. The live stream had about 290 viewers, and the event recording was viewed nearly 600 times on the Science Corner website over the following two months. For one month, it was the most viewed program on the website.
We ran the ‘Koskettaa jokaista’ [Touches everyone] event jointly with the Finnish Cancer Patients’ Association, with the Finnish Cancer Institute Foundation and with iCAN, the flagship of Digital Individual Cancer Research of the University of Helsinki and of HUS. The live streamed event was hosted by journalist Baba Lybeck, and the panelists were cancer patient Laura Saarelainen, Professor Tapio Visakorpi, Docent and Specialist Anniina Färkkilä, and Tuula Helander, Director of the Biotechnology and Medicines Unit at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health.
The event was viewed live by 390 people, and the recording was viewed 892 times after the event.
‘Minustako biopankkitutkija’ event
In September, we partnered with the Tampere Biobank to organize an event titled ‘Minustako biopankkitutkija’ [Could I be a biobank researcher?], aimed at scientists. This online event was streamed live from Helsinki to Tampere and the University of Tartu. This event had nearly 200 viewers during the live stream and was given much positive feedback by universities and companies. Many wished for this to be an annual event.
Events with patient organizations and educational institutions
As part of our cooperation with educational institutions, we launched a biobank training course with Metropolia University of Applied Sciences at the beginning of the year for the spring semester. The event was open to all Metropolia students and had a variable attendance of about 150 on average.
In March, we held two nationwide patient organization events online, for the Finnish Neuromuscular Disorders Association and for the Finnish Respiratory Health Association. These live streams had 280 and 315 viewers, respectively.