Do you feel you’d like a role in improving healthcare?
There is important work going on at the NIH Clinical Center, administering participation in clinical trials and medical research studies.
The NIH Clinical Center has been running studies since 1954 and administers the Clinical Research Volunteer Program.
This allows healthy people, both local to the center and in some cases national and international, to take part in tests that improve our understanding and treatment of various conditions.
They need healthy people as well as people with specific illnesses so that they can run comparisons.
In fact, each year there are almost 3500 healthy volunteers taking part in the studies.
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What will I learn?
How to Apply for a Clinical Trial Study?
There are two ways to find out apply and find clinical studies that you can take part in.
- You can either join ResearchMatch, which acts as a registry for the NIH, and wait until a research team finds you in a match,
- or you can proactively seek out opportunities by going to http://clinicalstudies.info.nih.gov and searching.
Many people simply register for the Clinical Research Volunteer Program (CRVP), which indicates your active interest in taking part in appropriate studies.
The CRVP was created in 1995 to provide a centralized system for researchers to use to find volunteers.
When you register, you provide basic information about your health and have to furnish permission for that to be shared with others. The laws are strict about sharing health information.
Research teams can search the database and find matches for their requirements.
There are more than 300 studies at any one time, and their work is cloaked in medical jargon, so unless you are really interested in the medical field, you may decide to simply register your availability and not do any searches.
How Much Do You Get Paid to Be a Test Subject?
Despite referring to participants as volunteers, the NIH does provide compensation for your participation.
All participants will receive compensation for their time, and that is at a standard rate.
In addition, you can be compensated for the inconvenience you suffer in a procedure. The rate for this is set by the study’s principal investigator.
As far as exactly how much money you can make as a human guinea pig, it really depends on the study and the duration of it. There are studies that pay juts a few hundred dollars while there are longer studies that may take months and pay thousands of dollars.
Either way, you will be notified of the amount you will be paid for participating in any given medical research study.
In accordance with the tax laws, if you are compensated more than $600 it will be reported to the Internal Revenue Service on Form 1099 at the end of the year.
Risks of Participating in Medical Studies
You are right to wonder about any risks involved, as you may be volunteering for medical procedures, tests, or drugs.
You are essentially getting paid to test products, in this case, mostly new drugs and medications. So there are risks involved.
However, the NIH staff will tell you about the possible risks and benefits and will answer every question that you may have about the risks and restrictions of any particular study.
While no one wants to take unnecessary risks, bear in mind that the studies require that your health is monitored closely by experts, and if any side effects become apparent they will be dealt with appropriately.
Becoming a test subject in medical trial studies is a great way to not only earn some extra cash, but also to contribute to science, and medicine industry as a whole.
It is your decision whether to take part in any particular study, and your responsibility to make sure that all your questions are answered before agreeing.
If you want to find out more information about volunteering for medical research, you can also call (301) 496-4763, or the toll-free number 1-800-892-3276.