As the coronavirus pandemic upends the world, Neeta Jain, chief technology officer of Vibrent Health, is working to advance precision medicine through technology to address the unknowns of COVID-19 and other diseases.
The Indian American executive’s work since 2016 has focused on enabling cutting-edge digital tools for health research that seek answers about diseases and all aspects of health and well-being. Now, that same technology is being used to gain knowledge about the impacts of coronavirus, according to a press release.
The technology platform that Jain leads was adopted by the National Institutes of Health for the ‘All of Us’ Research Program, one of history’s largest and most ambitious digital health research programs that aims to enroll one million or more participants for a research effort to span 10 years or longer.
In May 2020, as COVID-19 ravaged across the globe, Jain and her team rapidly deployed the COVID-19 Participant Experience Survey for All of Us, submitted to 325,000 of the program’s participants to gather data about the effects of the pandemic on participants’ physical and emotional health. The COPE survey will collect data over a period of three months, or longer, giving researchers valuable insights to empower more effective prevention, treatment and management of COVID-19.
Tackling the demands of desperately needed health research became Jain’s professional life mission, stemming from her own personal experience with a potentially debilitating illness, noted the release. In her late 30s, Jain was diagnosed with Lupus, and while she researched her disease, consulted with a myriad of specialists and struggled to find effective treatments, she envisioned a digital database that would serve as a repository of knowledge that would help the medical world better manage and perhaps even cure diseases. This vision was the genesis of the platform that now serves as the consumer-facing technology platform of All of Us and is used by Vibrent to combat COVID-19.
Even before dealing with her own illness, Jain embraced challenge and pioneered pathways for her success from a very young age, defying the odds and surpassing what was expected of her, from her childhood in India and throughout her career.
In her formative years growing up in India, Jain showed a propensity in science and math, and she excelled at languages, mastering spoken and written English, Hindi, Marathi and French. She also reveled in studying logic and solving problems. But despite her varied academic interests, society had a certain life path in mind for her. Girls in her family were encouraged at an early age to pursue traditionally feminine pastimes and livelihoods, such as fashion and cooking. Jain’s family and friends guided her toward these activities, yet she saw a different future for herself.
She realized at a young age that designing clothing or running a boutique would not satisfy her naturally analytical mind. She exhibited an unstoppable desire to learn and an ambition to forge her own future, which her mother recognized and nurtured, said the release. With her mother, whom Jain calls her “hero,” as her advocate, Jain moved to the United States as a young woman and began her career in technology.
Jain devoured courses in technology, finding coding and software development fascinating and stimulating. As she advanced in her technology career, Jain applied herself to writing code and developing technology applications, utilizing her expertise in dot.net, Java and web development for companies including Honeywell and the IRS, eventually working her way up to architecting large and mission-critical systems.
At Vibrent Health, Jain feels gratified as CTO to focus on growing the company and problem solving to “get everything right.” Within her first two years as CTO, Jain spearheaded all research and development efforts and helped Vibrent achieve critical certifications for data privacy and security including FISMA, ISO 13485, ISO 9001 and SOC II, leading multiple teams to continue to build and enhance one of the most comprehensive digital health data collection efforts of its kind in medical research history.
Jain feels gratified that her work is now being purposed to advance knowledge about COVID-19.
“None of us could have imagined what awaited us in 2020,” said Jain. “As we seek to solve the mysteries of the new coronavirus, I am humbled that I am able to make a contribution that I hope will lead to alleviating or preventing some of the suffering due to this pandemic.”