Photo for illustrative purposes only. ©iStock/juanmonino
VA is a leader in health research. VA researchers conduct thousands of studies each year at VA medical centers, outpatient clinics, and nursing facilities. This work has contributed to better health care for Veterans and all Americans. Many of these studies involve only lab procedures or data. Others involve volunteers. Veterans volunteer for VA research with a clear understanding there may not be a direct benefit to their health. They do so, in many cases, with the hope of benefitting others in the future.
If you’re a Veteran—especially if you’re considering volunteering in a VA study—you should know that the highest priority of VA Research is protecting participants. Specifically, you should know about the five overarching “VA Research Principles” all clinical research in VA must adhere to, as stated below. (Of course, there are many rules and guidelines that are followed besides these general principles.)
• Ensure that all members of the research team conduct themselves as professionals, upholding the highest standards of quality and ethics in their work.
• Undertake clinical research only if it is reviewed, approved, and monitored by appropriate VA committees that ensure the research study is properly designed, does not involve undue risks, and includes safeguards for participants.
• Clearly explain that participation in a research study is voluntary and occurs only with consent, and that participants have a right to change their mind at any time without affecting their VA health care or benefits.
• Educate individuals who are considering enrolling in a research study about the study and its possible benefits and risks.
• Safeguard each participant’s information.