Happy family sitting together

Take Part In Research

Vanderbilt Kennedy Center faculty and staff conduct research studies that make positive differences in the lives of persons with developmental disabilities and their families

  • by identifying causes of disabilities
  • by learning about services and policies that affect persons with disabilities and their families
  • by looking for novel ways to provide support for persons with disabilities and their families
  • by partnering with our Community Advisory Council, State and community agencies, and families to identify pressing but under-studied topics
  • by using existing large databases to identify research and policy issues.

Children and adults, with and without disabilities, are invited to take part in research.

We know how fortunate we are to have families share their experiences, time, and knowledge with us. Thank you!

This section provides easy ways to learn about studies seeking participants.


Individuals or families interested in taking part in research can browse StudyFinder to find studies matching their interests and needs. Taking part in research may provide you with an evaluation, intervention, treatment, or medication that may help you understand your family member better.

Research Match

Registries for Autism and Intellectual Disabilities now available on ResearchMatch. Everyone is welcome to join, regardless of age, or condition. Visit www.researchmatch.org to learn more and to join today. To register for research participation and be notified when a study matches your interests, join ResearchMatch.

ResearchMatch is the first nationwide, nonprofit, volunteer research recruitment platform for all health conditions. The site was developed by and is hosted by VUMC. It is the product of a Consortium of research universities led by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences. It includes a sub-registry for intellectual and developmental disabilities, as well as other sub-registries. Since all national IDDRCs are at universities with CTSAs, all IDDRC-affiliated researchers may use this recruitment tool.

Research Benefits

Your participation in reasearch can be a great gift to:

  • the disability community
  • your family

Research Rights

Your rights as a research volunteer are protected by national and international law.

In Vanderbilt consent forms, you are guaranteed:

  • a right to privacy.
  • a right to choose to participate.
  • a right to change your mind about your choice.
  • a right to know what you will be asked to do.
  • a right to know what will happen during the research.

See more info here on Vanderbilt’s Human Research Protection Program for Participants.

Other Links and Resources:

  • Clinical Trials at the Vanderbilt Medical Center
    Vanderbilt conducts medical research studies and clinical trials in various divisions throughout the Medical Center. These include the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, the Vanderbilt Vaccine Research Program, the Vanderbilt HIV Vaccine Trials Program, the Kennedy Center for Research on Human Development, the Clinical Trials Center, and the Clinical Research Center.
  • Vanderbilt Vaccine Research Program
    The VVRP is actively involved in each stage of the vaccine development process, for infectious diseases that affect not only the United States, but the rest of the globe.
  • Participate in a Research Study with Psychological Sciences at Vanderbilt
    Psychological Sciences at Vanderbilt University integrates strong basic and applied research traditions. We consist of two equally strong departments, the Department of Psychology and Human Development in Peabody College of education and human development and the Department of Psychology in the College of Arts and Sciences, as well as faculty in allied departments throughout the University. Vanderbilt psychology combines breadth across the traditional domains of academic psychology with depth in specific programs of inquiry likely to contribute to solutions of major scientific, social, and psychological problems.
  • Building Trust Between Minorities and Researchers
    Health disparities are a national problem, but the future looks bright for a solution. Community participation in research is key in contributing to the health of future generations. Today, with this website, we can start building trust between communities and health researchers in an effort to eliminate barriers that have a negative impact on all of our health.
  • DS-Connect™: The Down Syndrome Registry
    “The new registry provides an important resource to individuals with Down syndrome and their families,” said Yvonne T. Maddox, deputy director of the NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), which is funding the registry. “The registry links those seeking volunteers for their research studies with those who most stand to benefit from the research.”
  • WeSearchTogether.org
    This site advances depression, bipolar disorder and mood research through encouraging volunteer participation and enhancing community-researcher relationships nationally.
  • NIH Clinical Research Trials and You
    National Institutes of Health website helps people learn more about clinical trials, why they matter, and how to participate. Clinical trials are essential for identifying and understanding ways to prevent, diagnose, and treat disease. Research has shown that among the greatest challenges to recruitment of volunteers is the lack of general knowledge about what trials involve, where they are carried out, and who may participate. Visitors to the website will find information about: a) The basics of clinical trial participation b) First hand experiences from actual clinical trial volunteers c) Explanations from researchers d) Links on how to search for a trial or enroll in ResearchMatch.org.
  • Interactive Autism Network (IAN) Research
    IAN is an interactive autism network linking the autism community and researchers, a partnership of the Kennedy Krieger Institute and the Simons Foundation. Individuals with ASD and their family members are eligible to take part.