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Patient Recruitment at the NIH Clinical Center

A girl and an older woman.Research volunteers are partners in discovery at the Clinical Center, the nation’s clinical research hospital. Clinical research is medical research involving people. The Clinical Center’s mission is to rapidly translate scientific observations and laboratory discoveries into new ways to diagnose, treat and prevent disease. More than 350,000 individuals from around the world have participated in clinical research at the Clinical Center since the hospital opened in 1953.

Research participants include healthy volunteers and patient volunteers.

A healthy volunteer is a person with no known significant health problems who participates in clinical research to test a new drug, device, or intervention. Research with healthy volunteers is designed to develop new knowledge, not to provide direct benefit to study participants. Healthy volunteers have always played a vital role in medical research.

A patient volunteer has a known health problem and participates in research to better understand, diagnose, treat, or cure that disease or condition. Research procedures with a patient volunteer help develop new knowledge. These procedures may or may not benefit the study participants.

Page last updated: April 10, 2012