UCSF Research Participant Services

Research at UCSF

Clinical research studies play an important role in helping health providers prevent, diagnose and treat disease in people. There are many different types of studies, but they all share a common purpose: to help people live longer, healthier lives. Without volunteers like you, these studies are not possible. By enrolling in a study at UCSF, either for a specific disease or as a healthy participant, you play an important role in advancing health worldwide.

Deciding to participate in a research study is a personal choice. If you would like to opt out of receiving information related to research opportunities, contact UCSF Research Participant Services at 415-476-9259 or send an email to [email protected].

Frequently Asked Questions

The following Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) are designed to help our patients learn more about participating in research at UCSF.

  1. I received a message about participating in a research study. Why did I receive this message?

Researchers use different methods to identify people who might be eligible to participate in research studies. For example, a study might advertise in a local newspaper or radio, send mass mailings using lists purchased from marketing organizations not associated with UCSF, or post fliers in clinics and around the community. Another method is to contact people who have received medical care from the UCSF Medical Center who we believe might be eligible. UCSF's Research Participant Services works to facilitate this outreach method. Research studies are recommended to patients based on a computer-aided search. No one has looked at your medical record; your private medical information is protected.

  1. I don't recall giving UCSF permission to contact me for research studies. Did I?

All UCSF patients sign the 'UCSF Terms and Conditions of Service: Admission, Medical Services and Financial Agreement' form. This form covers a number of different terms of agreement, one of which is that you may be contacted and asked to participate in research studies. One of the benefits of receiving care at an academic medical center is having access to the latest research studies and clinical trials.

  1. Do I need to participate in a study I am invited to?

You are under no obligation to join a study. It is your decision to participate and it will not affect your medical care at UCSF.

  1. Can a researcher, using Research Participant Services, look at my medical record in order to invite me to participate in a research study?

No. These research studies are recommended to patients based on a computer-aided search. No one has looked at your medical record. A researcher who has received approval from the UCSF Human Subjects Research Protection Program may use a computer-aided search to identify groups of patients who may be interested in participating in their study and provide information about participating. Researchers do not receive any personal information about you, and the researchers do not know which patients have been contacted about study participation. This service and process is in place to ensure the privacy of UCSF patients.

  1. What are clinical research studies?

Health providers and scientists use clinical research studies to answer questions about healthcare. Research can find better ways to prevent, diagnose, or treat diseases and disorders. There are many kinds of clinical research studies. For example, some studies test new medicines or devices. Other studies use interviews to learn about health problems or risk factors for health problems.

  1. Why do people participate in research studies?

Every study is different, and the reasons people participate are different. Some reasons people take part in a study are:

  • To help others
  • To help advance science
  • To possibly improve their own health
  • To gain access to treatments before they become widely available
  • To access treatment options that might not be available outside of the research
  1. Can only people with a disease or specific medical problem participate in research?

Many types of people are needed to participate in research studies. Some studies need healthy persons. Other studies need persons with specific health problems. People of all ages and from all ethnic groups are needed. Every study has its own eligibility criteria, which will help you determine if you are permitted to participate.

  1. Will my personal health information be protected if I participate in a study?

Yes. It is the legal and ethical responsibility of all UCSF faculty, staff, trainees, students, volunteers, and contractors to protect and preserve personal and confidential patient information. This includes information collected and used for research purposes.

  1. What laws does UCSF comply with when conducting research studies?

UCSF researchers comply with federal regulations, state laws, University polices and national standards for research involving human participants. Additionally, before a study can begin, the UCSF Institutional Review Board (IRB) must approve it. This is a committee of health providers, scientists, and people from the community who make sure that people in the research study will be treated fairly and that all risks, if any, will be explained to them.

  1. Where can I find out about other research studies being conducted at UCSF?

UCSF is a world-renowned academic research institution that conducts many different types of research studies. Clinical trials, which are studies that test the safety and effectiveness of drugs or devices, are an important focus area. There are currently more than 700 clinical trials at UCSF that are looking for research participants. Explore UCSF Clinical Trials.

  1. Who can I contact if I have more questions?

If you'd like to learn more, or would like to opt out of receiving information related to research opportunities, contact UCSF Research Participant Services at 415-476-9259 or send an email to [email protected]. Someone will contact you within three business days.