Want to make a difference? Participate in research

Linda Rice

Guest Columnist

LEXINGTON -- Health research changes lives. It's how we learn more about health conditions and make discoveries to improve treatments, care, and diagnostics. Every medicine or device we use--from aspirin to pacemakers--was developed through a process of research. But research needs people like you in order to move forward. All too often, studies are forced to end early or don't enroll enough participants, causing many important questions go unanswered.

At the University of Kentucky, doctors, nurses and researchers are working diligently to advance discoveries that improve health, and we invite you to join us. You can make a difference by participating in research. Participating is a way to help others by "giving forward," and it's also an opportunity to learn more about your own health.

Whether you are healthy or have a medical condition, there are opportunities for you to participate. Health research is more than clinical trials for rare diseases. Sometimes it's as simple as a questionnaire, a screening, or testing a type of exercise. Many studies compensate participants.

Health research also includes extensive protection for participants. The ethical and legal codes that govern medical care also apply to research, which is further regulated with safeguards for participants. UK, like every research institution, also has a review board that evaluates all research to ensure protection of participants' rights and welfare. Every study follows a carefully controlled plan of what researchers will do and what is asked of participants, and this plan is explained in detail before you decide to join. Participants are free to leave a study at any time.

There are many ways to learn more and get involved in the process of discovery, all available at UKClinicalResearch.com:

Explore Current Studies at UK: To explore opportunities to participate in ground-breaking research at UK, click on "Current Studies." Browse opportunities by topic, like Alzheimer's, diabetes, cancer, healthy volunteers, women's health, drug and alcohol use, and many others.

Join UK's Wellness, Health & You (WHY) Program: WHY seeks to learn more about factors affecting Kentuckians' health and connects you with research opportunities that may interest you.

Join the national ResearchMatch program: To join this national database of research opportunities, visit ResearchMatch.org/uky. ResearchMatch is an easy, secure, registry that unites people who are interested in research with active studies.

To learn more about health research and opportunities, visit UKClinicalResearch.com. For questions about participating in research, contact us at UKClinicalResearch@uky.edu or (859) 257-7856.

Linda Rice, CCRC, is the director of clinical operations at the UK Center for Clinical and Translational Science, which is dedicated to accelerating discoveries that improve health.

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