Know Your Rights

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If you are already a research study participant, you may contact a Research Participant Advocate if you have questions or concerns about the study you are enrolled in. 

Hands of a medical student using a laptop and hands of a person holding paperworkResearch Participant Advocate (RPA) is an individual with expertise in clinical research studies but not associated with any particular research study. The RPA’s job is to help ensure that you are properly informed and protected as you participate in research. Federal, state and institutional regulations and policies are in place to protect participants in clinical research. RPAs enhance these protections through advocacy for study participants, as a resource for investigators, and through independent oversight. The RPA may serve as objective witness during the consent process, answer your questions and discuss your concerns at any time during your participation in research.

The GHUCCTS RPAs are available to talk with you about any concerns or to provide general informant and advice. Please contact the RPA at 202-681-2872 or via e-mail:, if you:

  • have questions or concerns at any time about your participation in a research study;
  • want them to facilitate communication between you and the members of your research team;
  • want information about clinical research in general; 
  • have questions about your rights and responsibilities.

What questions should I ask prior to my participation in the research study?

  • What is the purpose of this study?  What will I be asked to do?
  • Will I still receive proper care and retain my benefits if I decline to take part?
  • How long will I be in this study?
  • What parts of the study may involve experimental procedures?
  • Can I expect to benefit from participating in this study?
  • What risks are involved in participating in this study?
  • Who pays the costs of study procedures?
  • Who pays the costs of treatment if I am injured by participating in the study?
  • Who will have access to my personal study information?
  • If the study involves a therapeutic procedure or drug, what are the alternatives?
  • Whom can I contact in case of an emergency or if I have questions or concerns?