We rely on the help of participants, volunteers, and donors to advance our goal of improving the treatment and prevention of childhood illnesses. You and your child can make an impact on research at Penn State Health Children’s Hospital.

Become a clinical trial participant

During a clinical trial, volunteers (“participants”) receive experimental treatments that are not yet approved for use for the public. Sometimes, these treatments have been approved for a different use.

These studies are conducted in phases, beginning with the testing of a small group of people to evaluate the treatment’s safety and progressing toward a larger number of people to confirm its effectiveness and collect data.

Participants who have particular illnesses or conditions are often sought to participate in clinical trials. For example, a study testing a cardiac device may seek participants who have a particular congenital heart defect.

However, healthy participants are also needed. The results of healthy volunteers serve as controls - that is, they’re compared to the results of the group that has the medical condition. Both participants with medical conditions and healthy participants play critical roles in advancing research.

Why participate in a clinical trial?

Volunteering for a research study is a personal decision, and a variety of factors should be considered before deciding to participate, including risks involved.

Your child may participate to:

  • Find a way to get better when tradition treatments aren’t working
  • Get individualized attention from medical staff
  • Be at the forefront of medical innovations
  • Help others by advancing knowledge about a medical treatment

Some trials may compensate volunteers.

Search clinical trials at the Children’s Hospital that are currently recruiting participants.

Volunteer to facilitate research

The Pediatric Innovation Program brings together clinicians, engineers, and industry for a common mission: improving the development of medical technology for infants and children. If you’re a current or retired health care provider, engineer, or business executive, or if you have other skills that might help, consider joining our team.

Donate to support research

Research at the Children's Hospital is actively supported by numerous scientific funding agencies and philanthropies. Individual donors play a critical role in supporting these organizations.

For example, Children’s Miracle Network provides funding for life-saving equipment, vital patient programs like Child Life, and innovative research to help kids affected by any illness or injury. Four Diamonds provides stable funding to Penn State Health childhood cancer research efforts seeking improved treatments and cures to benefit children around the world. Both groups help pay for pediatric research at the Children’s Hospital.

Donate now

Volunteer with us

Donating your time to Children’s Miracle Network or Four Diamonds is a way to support the organizations that fund research at the Children’s Hospital. Your help will indirectly benefit the researchers and clinicians who are developing programs to advance medical and scientific knowledge in pediatrics.

As a volunteer, you may:

  • Greet and direct visitors
  • Help staff an event
  • Play games with children
  • Deliver flowers to patients

Learn more about volunteering with Children’s Miracle Network or Four Diamonds.

See other volunteer opportunities at the Children’s Hospital.