Be an Informed Participant

Before deciding to join a research study, take the time to learn about it. You should know as much as possible about the study and can ask the research team any questions about how the study is being conducted and what your rights are as a research participant.

What is health research?

Health research helps find new ways to understand and treat health conditions. Overall, most of us have personally benefitted from research even if we don’t realize it. There are lots of different reasons why health research is conducted.

For example, studies may be seeking a better way to:

detect a disease or disorder, control or manage a disease, prevent an illness, cure a disease or disorder, determine the safety or success of a new drug or treatment.

What are the different ways I can participate in health research?

There are many types of health research you can participate in. Depending on what the researchers are trying to study, different types of research might be used.

As a part of a research study you may be asked to:

Take a survey, talk in a focus group or interview, attend an educational program, participate in a clinical trial.

Why should I participate in health research?

As a participant, you have the opportunity to be involved in research that could bring about advances in science and health care. Your involvement helps researchers uncover better ways to treat, prevent, diagnose and understand different health conditions. By participating in health research, you have the ability to impact how patients are cared for and/or treated.

Here are a few other ways you might benefit by being involved in research:

  • Using new device, drug, or method first
  • Understanding your condition or your general health
  • Close monitoring, support, and follow up between regularly scheduled care visits
  • Improving treatment for others with the same condition
  • Increasing your interest in wellness and your engagement in the healthcare system

How do I know if health research is safe?

At the University at Buffalo, research studies undergo a thorough approval process by the Institutional Review Board (IRB). The IRB is made up of doctors, researchers, and members of the community. Its role is to make sure that each study is ethical and that the rights and welfare of all participants are protected. Among other things, the IRB also ensures that research risks are minimized and participants’ data is collected and kept in a safe manner. Additionally, all trials that involve a drug or device must adhere to strict FDA regulations.

A research participant is a volunteer and will never be placed in a research study without their knowledge. All participants sign a consent form to better understand the research study they are enrolled in. A participant may leave a study at any time without any effect on their continuing medical care.

As with any research study, there may be potential risks that you need to know about before you decide to enroll in research. Any questions you may have should be answered before you join the study.

Know who to contact

  • Eligibility—for questions about a specific study and who is eligible to participate, call or e-mail the contact person listed for that study.

  • Your Rights—for questions about your rights as a research participant, contact the UB Research Advocate at or (716) 888-4845.

  • General Feedback—for other feedback, contact the UB Clinical and Translational Science Institute at or (716) 829-2502.

Other health research resources

The Buffalo Research Registry (BRR) is a list of local people, ages 18 and up, who are interested in being matched to research studies. Visit the website to complete a brief health profile and start getting matched today!

ResearchMatch is a free and secure national registry of people who want to get involved in a clinical trial but may not know where to start. Major American academic institutions created the registry so individuals could participate in studies.

Portal Disclaimer

Studies listed on the Participate in Research site have been approved by the UB Institutional Review Board (IRB), which works to ensure the welfare and rights of research participants as required by federal regulations. Study listings are provided by the UB Clinical and Translational Science Institute in collaboration with UB research teams.