Participant Recruitment and Clinical Research Service Center

The Participant Recruitment and Clinical Research Service Center is a unique resource provided by the University of Cincinnati Department of Emergency Medicine to support research conducted across the College of Medicine. The Center is staffed by a team of clinical study assistants (CSAs) and a laboratory specialist who is highly experienced in the processing and banking of biological specimens. Together, they provide a centralized, coordinated approach to screening and recruiting Emergency Department patients for research participation, collecting and processing specimen samples and data, and entering data into clinical trial databases.

Emergency Department Recruitment Specialists

Clinical study assistants (CSAs) are the mainstay of the Center. The ongoing general screening of the entire Emergency Department census performed by CSAs is the first step in what can be a complex process of Emergency Department-based participant recruitment. All CSAs undergo hundreds of hours of training to prepare them for research activities, and have 24/7 backup from experienced clinical research coordinators. Whether the research includes acute or chronic diseases, therapeutics, diagnostics or devices, CSA personnel have a history of success in recruiting hard-to-access patients.

Training Program for the Future

CSA personnel range from part-time undergraduate students seeking healthcare experience to medical students preparing for their future as clinicians. While aiding researchers, the program also impacts the growth of a new generation of professionals by providing extensive experience for those exploring careers in medicine, clinical research and healthcare.


Working with the Center

Below is a brief overview of our core services. This is not an all-inclusive list. We would be happy to discuss your study-specific needs and how we can be of assistance to your research efforts. For more information, contact Carla McTaggart at (513) 558-8165 or

General Screening Services

$750/month (Internal*); $1,200/month (External**)
CSAs identify study participants and/or healthy controls by monitoring newly-arrived Emergency Department patients through all available means, including patient tracking systems, ED rounds and electronic health record review.

  • Electronic health record (triage notes) review to obtain each patient’s name, demographics, chief complaint, and medical record/account number
  • Initial approach to all patients to determine willingness to discuss research
  • Simple screening to identify willing patients’ potential for eligibility and to obtain agreement to be approached for enrollment
  • Referral back to study team (when applicable, based on obtained information)

Add-On Services

$18/hour (Internal*); $28/hour (External**)
The following services can be added to core screening services or performed as needed. Each individual service is provided at the above rate.

Study-Specific Screening
CSAs conduct a more-detailed screening assessment to determine inclusion/exclusion criteria of patients for whom additional study-specific information must be systematically assessed to determine eligibility. Such assessments may include medical records review (past medical history and testing results), and/or consultation with treatment team.

Enrollment and Consenting
CSAs move forward with enrollment of patients who agree to participate in an active research study. This may include additional screening assessments done directly with the patient to fully determine eligibility.

Study-Related Procedure or Assessment
CSAs assist with study-related procedures or assessments, as specified by the study protocol.

Sample Collection and Processing
CSAs assist in the collection of samples, as specified by the study protocol. CSAs are trained in the proper handling of blood and body fluids, and can perform routine tasks, such as centrifuging, pipetting and point-of-care testing. The CSAs have wet lab space directly in the patient care environments and are able to process samples either for testing or for storage.

Follow Up
CSAs can assist with telephone and interview follow-up procedures, as specified by the study protocol.

Data Abstraction and Entry
CSAs are trained in chart abstraction and data entry techniques using a variety of platforms, and can assist with data clarification and query resolution.

Study-Specific Training
Each CSA is required to be trained on each new study protocol. This is not included in the rates for the add-on services.

* Internal rates apply to any University user who is billed via an Intradepartmental Transfer of Expense Form (NIU Form A-169) and pays for the service from a source of funds on University books, including gift, endowment and sponsorship funds.
** External rates apply to any user who pays for the service from a source of funds not on University books and/or is not defined as a University user.