Common Concerns with Participating in a Research Study

How will I know if the study is safe for me since I’m of childbearing age and I could be pregnant?

Like all health care providers, the study team conducting research must follow rules and laws that protect your safety. Many of these are mandated by the federal government. Every clinical trial in the United States is approved and monitored by a committee whose job is to ensure your safety. At Yale, these committees are part of the Human Research Protection Program, which ensures that Yale studies are conducted ethically. All trials also follow a study plan that states exactly what researchers will do in the study. In studies that involve drugs or interventions that should not be given during pregnancy, researchers will ask is if you are or might be pregnant before the study begins.

Between my job and taking care of my family, how will I find the time to participate in a study?

Research teams go out of their way to ensure that participating in a study poses as little inconvenience to you as possible. Appointments are scheduled based on your availability, parking is often provided, and some studies offer financial compensation. If you decide to participate in a study, the study coordinator will work with you to accommodate your needs.

It seems I rarely hear about research findings and how they apply to me.

It takes a long time – 12 years on average for new drugs – to bring discoveries from the laboratory to patients. To develop a new medicine, for example, scientists first conduct basic research in the laboratory to understand a disease, look for possible targets for treatment, identify a drug that may act on the target and find out if the drug is suitable for testing in people. After this process, the drug is tested in clinical trials in people. Clinical trials occur in phases. A potential medicine must successfully complete all of the phases before being submitted to the Food and Drug Administration for approval.

Yale University communicates its research findings online, on social media platforms, and in publications. One source of information is Women’s Health Research at Yale, where you can learn about discoveries and improvements in health and health care.