Participate in Research

Research & Innovation

Research studies can help us improve how we care for our patients and their families. We know high-performing healthcare systems embed research opportunities in the care they provide. At AHS you can find us working on studies that focus on the prevention of illness and disease, testing new treatments and technologies, examining quality of life improvements, and even how changes in patient flow improve the overall health system.

While in an AHS facility, you may be approached about participating in a research study. Whether you choose to participate or not, you will receive the best care available.

What are clinical trials?

Clinical trials are rigorous research studies that test new ways to prevent, detect, treat or manage conditions or illnesses. These studies may test how effective or safe a drug, a device, a procedure, or a change to behaviour, such as diet, may be. Clinical trials are often done in phases where the results from one phase inform the design of the next phase. The four phases in studies of new medication include:

  • Phase I: Is it safe?
  • Phase II: How well does it work?
  • Phase III: Does it work better than existing treatments or approaches?
  • Phase IV: How does it work over the long run?

It Starts With Me is an online resource created by the Network of Networks (N2), a Canadian association of research networks dedicated to building resources for researchers, patients and families. This website provides information on what clinical trials are and considerations before participating. View brochure.

Why participate in research?
  • Participating in a trial may have direct benefits to you and will also help many other people you do not even know.
  • When you participate you may gain access to new, cutting edge treatments before they are available to the public or incorporated into standard care practices. You will also be working with leading medical experts and their teams in top facilities.
  • Patients who participate in clinical trials may also find it personally valuable to play a more active role in their healthcare or find satisfaction from the knowledge they are contributing to new developments.
  • The knowledge researchers gain from studies is used to establish better treatments and may contribute to changing the course of many illnesses, even curing or preventing them.
  • By participating in research, you may help influence the health of many others, including your own family, other patients, community members, and society as a whole.
Who is the Research Team?

Completing a clinical trial often requires a large team that begins with the patient and their family and may include their healthcare team, scientists, industry sponsors, healthy volunteers and ethicists.

Is it safe to participate?

Researchers and healthcare teams work hard to minimize any potential risks associated with clinical trials. Nevertheless, risks remain. Therefore, it is important to ask your doctor and healthcare team about the potential risks involved.

Is my data being kept safe?

To ensure Albertans are protected and receiving the highest quality care possible, Alberta Health Services requires all research conducted in its facilities meet strict ethics requirements and privacy regulations, including the Alberta Health Information Act and the Freedom of Information and Privacy Act.

To comply with the legislation, AHS requires clinical researchers to gain approval from a research ethics board for a study and to submit plans for how they will safeguard the health information they collect.

Find a study that is right for you

To get involved in research, speak with someone on your care team or check out one of the searchable databases below. Even if you are not currently a patient, you or a family member may participate in many studies as part of a healthy comparison group.

  • Be The Cure - explore opportunities to help shape Alberta's medical future.
  • Alberta Cancer Clinical Trials - the site is updated monthly with ongoing cancer clinical trials.
  • – a service provided by the US National Institutes of Health. It provides a registry and results database of clinical studies conducted in Canada and around the world.