The Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) ranks as one of the nation’s leaders in health research. VA Research and Investigators have made significant contributions to advancements in health care for veterans and for all Americans because Veterans volunteered to take part in research projects.

VA Research In Medical History

VA Researchers:

  • Used microelectronics and microchips as well as robotics to create artificial limbs that look, feel and work more like real arms and legs
  • Developed the nicotine patch to help people stop smoking
  • Invented the cardiac pacemaker
  • Performed the first successful liver transplant
  • Played a major role in the development of the CAT or CT scan
  • Tested new drugs and treatments for diseases such as AIDS, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and osteoporosis

To Participate in a Study

What You Need to Know

If you have been asked to volunteer as a research study participant:

A research study is an organized way of learning more about a problem or answering a question.

If you choose to participate in a study at Harry S Truman Memorial Veterans’ Hospital, your research record will be kept confidential like your medical record.

Choosing to volunteer to participate in a research project, study or clinical trial of a drug, procedure or device is YOUR choice. You can always say, “NO” if you are asked to participate. Your decision will not affect your VA health care or benefits.

Choosing to participate in a research study may or may not benefit your health directly. No one can predict the exact outcome of a research study or how it might affect you personally.

Your participation may provide information that will improve the lives of others in the future.

Before agreeing to participate in a study, you should be fully informed of all benefits and risks. This process is called INFORMED CONSENT.

When a research staff member, including your nurse and/or doctor offers you an opportunity to participate in a study, they will explain the study, tell you about any tests or procedures you may receive, tell you the potential benefits to you and any risks, and inform you of your rights as a research volunteer.

Ask any and all questions about the proposed study BEFORE signing the informed consent form. You may want to talk with family members, friends or other health care providers before making the decision to volunteer as a research participant.

You can change your mind and leave a research study at any time without losing any of your VA health care benefits.

Ask questions about the research project. Example questions in sidebar at right excerpted from Volunteering in Research brochure, VA Office of Research and Development’s Center On Advice and Compliance Help (COACH).