Sharp Center for Research
We strive to make each patient interaction meaningful and to educate and support our research participants — all in accordance with the Belmont principle of Respect for Persons and with our own Sharp Experience philosophy. Each participant plays a special role in a research study. Without participants in clinical research we would not be able to further advance medical expertise and technology.
Below you will find resources and information for current and past patients participating in our clinical trials.
- What is a research study?
- Why should I volunteer for a research study?
- What the benefits and risks to participating?
- Who will see my records?
- What is informed consent?
- What questions should I ask before I agree to participate?
- What if I do not want to participate?
- Important links
What is a research study?
A research study is an organized activity to learn more about a problem or to answer questions. Scientists conduct many different kinds of studies. For example, a research study may test if a treatment is safe and effective, find out what health care practices work best or determine the best way to prevent an illness.
One type of research study is a clinical trial, which tries to decide whether new treatments are safe and effective — often by comparing against placebos.
Each study is reviewed and approved by the Institutional Review Board (IRB) to ensure it's both well planned and ethical. A group made up of medical professionals, scientists and community members, the IRB serves to protect your rights and welfare both before and during the research study.
Why should I volunteer for a research study?
People decide to participate in research studies for a variety of reasons — to help find a cure for an illness, to help others who are sick, to help find ways to provide better care, to help scientists learn more about the human body and mind, to help find a better treatment for an existing condition. Only you can decide whether you want to take part in a study.
What are the benefits and risks to participating?
There may not always be a direct benefit to you for participating. Your health or a health condition you have may get better as a result of your participation — or it may stay the same or get worse. No one can predict what will happen with a study or how it might affect you. It may not help you personally, but may result in information that will help others in the future.
Sometimes research procedures and treatments may cause discomfort or side effects. While the risks and side effects of the study may not be known completely when you begin, our team will discuss any known possible risks with you before you make your decision about whether to participate. If you decide to volunteer, we will keep you informed of any new risks that we learn of during the study.
Who will see my records?
Like your medical record, the information in your research study record is confidential. Your safety is our priority and we are committed to keeping your information private. Your information will only be shared with those who need it, such as researchers and staff who will carry out the research study, the Institutional Review Board, the company or group funding the research study and various government oversight agencies. It is important for these groups to access your records so they can ensure that the study is conducted properly.
What is informed consent?
Informed consent is the process of learning the key facts about a research study before you decide whether to participate. Your decision to volunteer should be based upon knowing what will take place in the study and how it might affect you. Informed consent begins when our research team explains the facts to you about the study.
If you decide to participate, you will be asked to sign a consent form. The informed consent process is more than just signing a piece of paper; it is a process that continues throughout the study. Our team will assist you with the form and review details about other study, including tests or procedures you might receive, benefits and risks and your rights as a research volunteer. You may leave the study at any time, even during the follow-up period.
What questions should I ask before I agree to participate?
Before you decide to volunteer to take part in a research study, it's important to learn as much as possible about the study. If you have any concerns, please let us know.
We've compiled a list of sample questions that may help you, but please know that not every question will apply to every research study.
- Who is doing this research study and what question might it answer?
- Will this study help in understanding my condition? How?
- What tests or procedures will be done?
- Is it possible that I will receive a placebo?
- Will I have to make extra trips?
- What could happen to me, good and bad, if I take part in the study?
- How long will the study last?
- What will happen to any specimens I give?
- Who has reviewed and approved this study?
- Could my condition get worse? What will happen if it does?
- What other options or choices do I have if I decide not to participate?
- Who will be in charge of my care? Will I be able to continue to see my own doctor?
- Will I be charged anything or paid anything to participate?
- If I decide to participate in this study, how will it affect my daily life?
- What will happen to me at the end of the research study?
- Will I be told the results of the study?
- Who will find out that I am taking part in this study?
- How do I end my participation if I change my mind?
- Whom do I contact for questions and information about the study?
Our research team will explain the research study to you. If you have any additional questions, do not understand the answers you were given or even if you just forget, please ask again. We are here to help.
Information will be provided to you in a language you know; if English is not your first language, please ask for an interpreter to be present when you are discussing the research study with our team.
Feel free to take the information home to discuss with your loved ones or your health care provider before you decide whether to participate in the research study.
What if I do not want to participate?
You always have the right to say no, and to decline participation in any study — at any time, even after you've already volunteered. Your decision will not affect how we treat you.