Sophisticated database powers new, improved Volunteer for Health site

There’s a new and improved way for people to get involved with clinical trials at the School of Medicine — Volunteer for Health, the university’s organization for clinical study recruitment, is now using an improved web site backed by a more sophisticated database management system. Called the Research Participant Registry (RPR), the new system offers volunteers better access to clinical trials and gives researchers more powerful tools for recruiting participants.

The School of Medicine has more than 1,500 clinical trials underway at a given time, and 1,000 new trials begin each year. Participants who are healthy and those who have medical conditions are needed from every race, ethnicity and age group to advance medical care for everyone. The RPR is an ideal way for people to connect to studies that fit their needs and interests.

The RPR makes it very easy to get started as a volunteer. Potential volunteers can register at where they will complete a 15-minute questionnaire listing contact information, health history and current medications. With that data, the registry can match volunteers with appropriate studies. Then interested individuals can either wait to be contacted as studies come up, or they can soon choose from a list of studies matched to them.

“Becoming a trial participant has many benefits,” says Katherine Mathews, M.D., medical director of Volunteers for Health. “People can learn more about their own health through diagnostic screenings that are part of an individual study. But above all, it’s an important way for people to help their families, communities and others by ensuring continued progress in preventing, diagnosing and treating disease.”

Researchers conducting clinical trials will also find that the new system makes their jobs easier. Volunteer for Health staff can help them create and implement recruitment plans and help them get the word out about their trials to qualified volunteers in the community. The RPR is connected to a powerful new clinical research management system that will ensure ready access to patient data and coordinate communication between departments and divisions involved in clinical studies. It will help support all phases of research — from planning, through IRB submission, patient enrollment, data collection and analysis.

School of Medicine study coordinators who would like to place their clinical trials on the RPR site can call 314-362-1000.