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Become a Research Volunteer

The Department of Veterans Affairs is one of the nation's leaders in health research. Thousands of studies are conducted at VA medical centers, clinics and nursing homes each year. These studies have contributed significantly to advancements in health care for Veterans and other Americans.

Research studies are important because they help provide:

  • testing if a product, such as a drug or piece of equipment, is safe and effective
  • what health care practices work best
  • a better understanding about which health care services are effective and efficient
  • answers to questions about the best way to treat or prevent an illness
  • an organized, methodical way to learn more about a specific concern

While some studies look at existing information, numbers or other data, other studies require human participation. These volunteer participants have contributed to many important advances in health care, including:

  • the development of microelectronics and robotics to create artificial limbs that look, feel, and work like natural arms and legs
  • the creation of the nicotine patch to help people stop smoking
  • inventing the cardiac pacemaker
  • performing the first successful liver transplant
  • contributing to the development of the CAT (CT) scan
  • developing new drugs and treatments for diseases such as HIV/AIDS, diabetes, Alzheimer's, and osteoporosis

What are the benefits? There may or may not be a direct benefit to your health or health condition if you take part in a research study. No one can predict the exact outcome of a research study or how it might effect your condition. The study may not help you personally, but your participation may provide information that will improve the lives of others in the future. 

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