Frequently Asked Questions

A research study is a scientific way to improve or develop new methods of health care. Studies are designed to answer specific questions about how to prevent, diagnose, or treat diseases and disorders. There are many kinds of research studies. For example, clinical trials test new medicines or devices. Other research studies use interviews or surveys to understand health or behavior. Participating in a research study is always voluntary and will not affect your ability to receive normal medical care.
Drugs and medical devices must be proven safe and effective in people before the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will approve them for general use. A clinical trial is a study that tests a drug or medical device to see if it is safe and effective for treating people.
Pitt+Me is open to all ages, but parents must enroll their children who are under the age of 18 for Pitt+Me.
Yes. Researchers need healthy people as well as people with specific health conditions.
Every research study involves a different amount of time. Some studies require only one visit, while others can last for years. Study descriptions listed on Pitt+Me will usually show the amount of time involved, but you can always ask the researcher or coordinator for that information at your first visit.
Some studies offer compensation for participation, and some do not. Studies listed on Pitt+Me will usually show the amount of compensation offered for participation.
  • The Federal government has rules to protect study participants.
  • All research studies in the United States must be approved and monitored by a group of people called an Institutional Review Board (IRB). The IRB is made up of scientists, doctors and community people. They review studies to help make sure that study participants will be as safe as possible.
  • Participants must be given complete information about the research study. They must also give their informed consent before taking part in the study.
  • The University of Pittsburgh has a Human Subject Protection Advocate (1-866-212-2668). Study participants can contact the Advocate for answers to questions about their rights as study volunteers.

These methods of protection do not eliminate all possibility of risk. They do help to ensure study participants will be as safe as possible.