SUPPORT Volunteer Program

Students Undertaking a Pediatric Program of Research Training

The CHEO Research Institute implemented its student volunteer research associate program in 2010. The “Students Undertaking a Pediatric Program of Research Training” (SUPPORT) Program was initially implemented in the CHEO Emergency Department (ED). Due to the overwhelming success of the program, it will soon rollout across the hospital.  This initiative facilitates clinical research activities at CHEO and provides a constant presence of research support staff in the ED and soon in other areas of the hospital. This program significantly adds to the culture of research in the ED and throughout CHEO, while providing its participants with a meaningful clinical research education experience.

SUPPORT is fueled by volunteers who are students seeking to gain clinical research training experience and who are currently enrolled in University or have graduated from a post-secondary program within the last 12 months. They commit to a 6-month term, with about half of the volunteers choosing to return for two, three, or even four terms. Following completion of a term, students receive a “certificate of completion”.  The volunteers perform a variety of tasks, but their main responsibility is to screen patients for enrollment in multiple research projects.

The program in the ED is funded by clinical investigators who wish to use SUPPORT volunteers to aid with patient recruitment of their studies. The amount of funding depends on the extent of involvement and the period of time in which the volunteers are needed. The pilot program in other areas of CHEO will be funded by the Clinical Research Unit (CRU).