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Patients & Community

Patients & Community

About Medical Research

Frequently asked questions about clinical research, the study of health and illness in people.

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Volunteer for a Study

Information to help you decide if you want to take part in a clinical research study.

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Research Community Resources

Resources on how and why HHS and HHRI conduct medical studies and how we serve the community.

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Patient Advocacy

Find out how Hennepin Healthcare protects patients participating in clinical research studies.

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Questions, Complaints, or Feedback

The Human Research Protection Program welcomes your questions, concerns, and/or feedback.

If you are a research participant and would like to discuss problems, concerns, or questions about a study, or your rights as a participant in a research study with someone other than the study Principal Investigator, please contact the Hennepin Healthcare Human Research Protection Office (HRPO).

Anyone can submit feedback, including research participants, family members, or others. To offer feedback about your experience in a research study or provide suggestions for the Human Research Protection Program, please contact us at, (612) 873-6881 or complete the online Feedback Form:

Research Highlights

Hennepin Healthcare Research Institute is testing an innovative way to help people quit smoking – by letting them bet on themselves and win real money. It’s part of a new game called QuitBet and it’s being funded by a National Institutes of Health (NIH) research grant administered by researchers at Hennepin Healthcare. Players commit to quit smoking over four weeks and bet $30 on themselves, which goes into the pot. Players then receive a free breath testing device to track their progress every day. At the end, all the players who have managed to quit win back their bet plus a profit as they split the pot with the other winners. Winners typically double their money while quitting smoking.

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NIH Helping to End Addiction Long-term

The NIH HEAL Headliners series explores research progress across the portfolio of the Helping to End Addiction Long-term® Initiative. This monthly webinar series shines a light on the wide array of HEAL-funded projects addressing pain, opioid use disorder, overdose, and the important intersections between those topics.

The series is intended for researchers, but anyone with interest in HEAL’s research on pain and addiction is welcome to attend.

The HEAL Headliners series:

  • Provides a forum to disseminate HEAL science on a frequent basis.
  • Informs the HEAL network of cutting-edge research.
  • Highlights early-career researchers.
  • Provides a virtual space for researchers to engage.

The topic for May webinar was,Engaging Patients and Communities in HEAL Research.” During this presentation, Kirsten L Johansen, MD, FASN, Director of Nephrology at Hennepin Healthcare and Co-Director of HHRI’s Chronic Disease Research Group discussed patient engagement in the Hemodialysis Pain Reduction Effort (HOPE) study. HOPE aims to reduce how pain interferes with the lives of people who receive dialysis treatment. To view the recording from May 5, 2023, click here.

Visit the HEAL Initiative website to learn more about how researchers are tackling the national opioid public health crisis.


The COVID-19 pandemic brought changes to many areas of our lives, including how and where we work, how our children play and learn, and how we get our healthcare.  The challenges that came with the pandemic affected how research is conducted as well, and at a time when research presented one of our best hopes for navigating a way forward, lock downs and safety protocols created new hurdles for participation in research.  In response to these challenges, HHRI developed a partnership with Hennepin Healthcare’s Community Paramedics team so patients could continue to have access to the research studies that were investigating new treatments for the virus that causes COVID-19.

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Research Stories

Investigator Spotlight

Find a dream or a goal, work towards it and lean on your community to help you

Image of Dr. Casey DorrCasey Dorr, PhD, is an investigator at the Hennepin Healthcare Research Institute (HHRI), Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Minnesota, and now a student again, working on a Master’s degree in Biostatistics. A member of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, Dr. Dorr was featured in the February 2019 Ojibwe Inaajimowin where he talks about chasing dreams, setting goals and counting on your community to help you along the way are major keys to success.

In the article, Dr. Dorr recounts how a high-school trip to the rainforests of Belize sent him on his path to becoming a researcher. After earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Cell Biology and Chemistry at the University of Minnesota Duluth, he earned his PhD in Molecular, Cellular, Developmental Biology and Genetics at the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities.

At HHRI, Dr. Dorr’s research focuses on cell culture, CRISPR, RNA sequencing, Flow Cytometry, Genomics and Biotechnology.  He’s combining all of these technologies with his passion to help us understand better why people’s bodies metabolize drugs differently.

Protecting Patients

Empowering Research Participants with Information

But while research is essential, respect for patient autonomy and decision making, as well as the protection of the patients’ safety, remains the priority.
- Adm. Brett P. Giroir, MD
Assistant Secretary for Health, US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)

The Office for Human Research Protections (OHRP) is a department within the DHHS that protects the rights, welfare and well-being of people who participate in clinical research trials.

In a recent blog, Adm. Brett P. Giroir, MD, writes about OHRP's  About Research Participation initiative to provide accessible informational for potential research participants. The About Research Participation website contains resources for the public in English and Spanish to learn about participating in research and making informed decisions. You can find links to these and other helpful resources and in the Useful Links section below.

Useful Links


Hennepin Healthcare and the Hennepin Healthcare Research Institute are committed to improving patient care and the health of our community through research and education. For the past year, Hennepin Healthcare has been working with new independent community boards to bring more transparency to how and why we conduct medical studies and how we serve the community. As part of this work, new resources are being created and shared to provide insight into what we've learned thus far and our commitment to partnering with the patients and families who rely on us for quality healthcare.  We are sharing those resources below and we also continue to make the reviews and reports available for all to read.

Go to Research Community Resources on

Watch the Rebuilding the Community Trust video on YouTube

Watch the Research By and For Our Community video (English)

Watch the Research By and For Our Community video (Spanish)

The Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Human Research Protections (OHRP) website provides resources for the public to learn about participating in research and making informed decisions.  The site includes videos, information and other tools. 

About Research Participation (English)

Acerca de La Participación en Las Investigaciones Científicas (Spanish)

La Oficina de Protecciones para la Investigación Humana (OHRP, en inglés) es encargada de proteger los derechos y el bienestar de los participantes voluntarios en investigaciones científicas que sean auspiciadas por el Departamento de Salud y Servicios Humanos de los Estados Unidos (HHS, en inglés). Una de las maneras en que OHRP desarrolla esta misión es proveyendo al público de datos básicos acerca de lo que son las investigaciones científicas y lo que significa participar como voluntario en las mismas, para que aquellos que estén considerando participar puedan tomar una decisión más informada.

Entender lo que significa participar como voluntario en investigaciones científicas puede ser difícil. OHRP ha desarrollado y recopilado la materia siguiente para ayudarle a usted y a sus familiares a tomar una decisión.

En los siguiente enlaces podrá ver algunos videos informativos y una lista de preguntas para que las discuta con el equipo investigativo.

Acerca de La Participación en Las Investigaciones Científicas (Español)

About Research Participation (Inglés)

Learn what is a clinical study, who conducts them, reasons for conducting them and more in this online resource from the US National Library of Medicine.

Visit the NIH US National Library of Medicine website

Glossary of common terms associated with clinical research trials from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

View NIH's glossary of common terms


Dr. Griffin P. Rodgers, director of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), part of the National Institutes of Health, explains the importance of participating in clinical trials and encourages the public to consider joining, especially those who are underrepresented in clinical trials.

Watch the video on YouTube

OHRP has created a series of short videos with basic information about research. These videos are intended to help potential participants understand how research works, what questions they should consider asking, and things to think about when deciding whether to participate in a study.

Informational Videos (English)

Videos Informativos (Spanish)

La Oficina de Protecciones para la Investigación Humana ("OHRP", en inglés) ha creado estos cortos videos que contienen datos básicos acerca de las investigaciones científicas. El propósito de estos videos es ayudar a quien esté considerando participar en una investigación a entender mejor como las investigaciones funcionan. Además, aquí se le presenta ciertos asuntos que debe de considerar y ciertas preguntas que debe de hacer antes de decidir si participa o no en una investigación científica.

Videos Informativos (Español)

Videos Informativos (Inglés)


Guide to clinical research studies from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Describes the differences between observational studies and clinical trials. (downloadable PDF) 

View Why Do Researchers Do Different Kinds of Clinical Studies?

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