Participate in Research

Learn how you can contribute to health care advances

Why research?

Doctors and researchers at WellSpan study treatments, devices, medicines and practices to address the health needs and issues of our community. The studies they design are meant to answer a specific question related to healthcare.

Research studies done with the help of volunteers have led to important discoveries that make our lives and health better. Some examples are:

  • new drugs to treat cancer, diabetes and other diseases
  • new devices to enhance treatment of cardiac, neurologic, orthopedic and other health conditions
  • ultrasound, x-ray machines and diagnostic tests
  • vaccines
  • improvement of medical procedures

Current trials

The following WellSpan departments and locations are currently doing clinical trials:

  • emergency medicine (York)
  • heart and vascular (York and Chambersburg)
  • oncology (York, Chambersburg, Gettysburg, Ephrata and Lebanon)
  • orthopedics (York)
  • neurosciences (York)
  • pediatric neurology (York)
  • pulmonary (York)

You can view all our open trials at and narrow by disease, location offered and other filters to find opportunities to volunteer for research.

Benefits and risks

As a research volunteer, you’ll help others who may benefit from the results of the study in which you participate.

However, you may not benefit directly from your participation. Depending how the study is designed, the treatment may not be effective for you.

Risks may be associated with serving as a research volunteer. In some cases, there may be unpleasant, serious or even life-threatening side effects.

It also may take more of your time and be more demanding than if you sought standard of care treatment.

You're protected

There are many ways that your safety, rights and welfare are protected if you decide to volunteer for research.

  • Federal laws and rules require research with human volunteers to be conducted ethically and according to sound scientific principles.
  • Our own Institutional Review Board (IRB) and Human Research Protection Program (HRPP) help to ensure these laws and rules are followed.
  • The IRB and HRPP have policies and procedures to help the clinical researcher comply with these regulations.
  • We have many certified clinical research nurses and support staff to assist the researchers to comply with the federal regulations, state and local laws and WellSpan policies for research.

You're informed

Before you volunteer for any research, you should have a clear understanding of what you'll be asked to do. Ask your family members and primary care doctor what they think about you volunteering to participate in research. 

In most cases, you'll participate in an informed consent process. During this process, you'll go over:

  • all of the information about the research
  • what you’ll be asked to do
  • what information or samples will be taken
  • which tests will be done
  • many other details related to the trial and your participation

This is a good time to have all of your questions answered.

If you think of a question at a later time, contact the person listed as the contact on the informed consent document for your research study.

If you ever have a question about your participation as a research volunteer, contact WellSpan IRB staff at 717-851-2223.

Anyone can be a research volunteer. WellSpan offers opportunities for adults and children.

Some studies will be seeking healthy volunteers, and a majority will be specific to a health question or disease process.

As a research volunteer, you won’t be charged for any procedures, tests, medications or office visits conducted only for the research study. These fees are paid for by the study sponsor.

Your insurance or Medicare will not be charged as part of research, except for routine care you receive for your medical problem that isn’t covered by the sponsor.

You may still have copays or fees associated with the procedures related to your treatment. You should confirm with your insurance provider that they will provide coverage if you participate in a trial.

Our clinical trials are funded by different sources, including:

  • pharmaceutical companies
  • device companies
  • National Institutes for Health
  • National Cancer Institute
  • national oncology cooperative groups
  • national and international foundations
  • universities and private donors

The level of funding can vary. Sometimes WellSpan Health helps to cover costs not covered by the funding source.

The WellSpan Health IRB is committed to protecting our patients and research participants.

To ensure that our staff and sponsors have no financial or personal of conflicts of interest, we follow WellSpan policies based on federal regulations. Research staff make disclosures for each new clinical trial, and no one on the research staff is paid directly by the funding source to conduct clinical research.

If you have a question or concern about the relationship between our clinical staff and clinical research funding, please contact WellSpan IRB staff at 717-851-2223 or