NATIONAL VOLUNTEER APPRECIATION MONTH: WITHOUT VOLUNTEERS, WE’RE DEAD IN THE WATER

Medical Research VolunteerAccording to the most recent economic news release by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, “62.6 million people volunteered through or for an organization at least once between September 2014 and September 2015,” (most recent data available). The Corporation for National & Community Service further relates this to 7.9 billion hours of service and an estimated $184 billion of service contributed.

These volunteers are made up of all age groups and perform a wide variety of types of work, including coaching; tutoring and teaching; mentoring; volunteering for various activities at church; feeding the hungry and clothing the needy; improving the lives of animals; providing counseling or medical care; providing, office, professional or general labor services; fundraising; or just helping out a neighbor. If you haven’t volunteered personally, it’s highly likely that you’ve been served by one or have a friend of family member who has.

In the medical research field, volunteers are critical to learning more about the human body and how it works, the development of new medications and treatments, and the cause and ultimate cure of diseases and conditions through clinical trials. Clinical trials are experiments that use human volunteers to see whether a drug is effective and what side effects it may cause. In the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires that medications be safe and effective before they are made available to the general population. Several phases of research, studies, and trials involving human volunteers are part of this process. Read “From Fish to Pharmacies: A story of drug development” on the FDA’s website for an illustration of how a new drug is brought to market.

Per the National Institutes of Health (NIH), “groundbreaking scientific advances in the present and the past were possible only because of participation of volunteers, both healthy and those with an illness, in clinical research…As research opens new doors to finding ways to diagnose, prevent, treat, or cure disease and disability, clinical trial participation is essential to help us find the answers.” The NIH website offers volunteer stories to help others decide whether or not to volunteer.

Volunteer Jenny states, “I participated…because my mom has type 1 diabetes. Although I decided to participate to help the scientists learn more about my mom’s condition, it ended up having a big benefit for me as well.”

Healthy volunteer Melanie states, “Why would anyone want to get into a clinical trial? I’m sure the answer is different for everybody. I feel so lucky to be healthy. I had a sister who died of cancer, so I believe it is very important for healthy people to help. We have a role to play in helping find new, more effective treatments that can save lives. What could be better than that?” Visit the website here for more stories.

There are many reasons why individuals may or may not have volunteered for a clinical research study, but the outcome is clear: without volunteers, clinical studies cannot proceed. And without the studies, advancements cannot take place. Check out these blogs for more information on participating in a study, what that means, and the impact it can have:

Why You May Have Never Participated In A Clinical Research Study—And 4 Reasons Why You Should

Why Should You Participate in a Clinical Trial?

Medical Research Plays a Role in Public Health

Six Reasons Why You Should Participate in a Clinical Trial

Would You Be a ‘Guinea Pig’ if You Participate in a Medical Research Study?

Five Reasons to Participate in a Medical Research Study

The Benefits of Pharmaceutical Research

Meridien Research conducts a wide variety of clinical research studies at our six Central Florida clinics and needs YOU! For more information or to see if you or someone you know may qualify to participate, please contact us today at 1-888-777-8839 or visit our current study pages.