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For Health Professionals

Volunteer for Research

Why volunteer?

Choosing to participate in a clinical trial is an important personal decision. The following information may help you make the decision that is right for you.

What is research?

  • Research is a study that is done to answer a question.
  • Scientists conduct research because they don’t know for sure what works best to help you.
  • Some other words that describe research are clinical trial, protocol, survey, or experiment.
  • Research is not the same as treatment.

Why is research important?

Research has led to important discoveries that make our lives better. Some examples are:

  • New drugs and devices to treat diseases
  • Vaccines
  • Ways to stop smoking
  • Improved medical procedures

Points to consider:

  • A research study may or may not help you personally.
  • In the future, the results could help others who have a health problem.
  • Research participation is voluntary.

Before you decide to become a research volunteer, get the facts:

  • Ask questions
  • Learn as much as you can
  • Know the pros and cons

Questions to Ask:
Before you agree to participate in a research study, ask the study coordinator or principal investigator these questions.

  1. What is the main purpose of this study?
  2. Does the study involve a placebo or a treatment that is already on the market?
  3. How will the treatment be given to me?
  4. How long is the study going to last and what will I be asked to do as a participant?
  5. What has been learned about the study treatment and are any study results published?
  6. Do I have to pay for any part of the study?
  7. Will my insurance cover these costs?
  8. Will I be able to see my own doctor?
  9. If the treatment works for me, can I keep using it after the study?
  10. Can anyone nd out whether I’m participating in the clinical trial?
  11. Will I receive any follow-up care after the study has ended?
  12. What will happen to my medical care if I stop participating in the study?
  13. Ask yourself – Are you comfortable with the doctor and study staff as they will be medical care providers during the study?

What is the Institutional Review Board and why is it important?

The IRB is a committee of physicians, statisticians, researchers, community advocates, and others that ensures that a clinical trial is ethical and that the rights of study participants are protected. All clinical trials in the United States must be approved by an IRB before they begin.

Every institution that conducts or support biomedical or behavioral research involving humans must, by federal regulation, rely upon a federally-approved IRB that initially approves and periodically reviews the research to protect the rights of people. If you have any questions about IRB approvals for research conducted or supported by BSLMC, please contact the BSLMC Research Office:
[email protected]

Additional Resources

Office for Human Research Protections
Center for Information & Study on Clinical Research Participation
National Institutes of Health
National Cancer Institute
Food and Drug Administration


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