STAR Volunteer Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible to join STAR?

Any Iowan age 50 or over can enroll in the STAR Registry. People with medical problems, as well as healthy people, are invited to participate.

Can I join STAR even if I am sick?

Yes. STAR needs people who have illnesses and medical conditions, as well as people who have no health problems. All are welcome.

What if I join STAR but then change my mind?

Participation in any research study, and in the STAR Registry, is completely voluntary. You may decide to leave the study or the registry at any time.

How is my privacy protected?

The STAR Registry is confidential, and is regulated by the University of Iowa’s Institutional Review Board. Only members of the STAR research team have access to your registration information, which is kept locked and in a secure, protected database.

What happens after I join STAR?

When a university researcher asks for STAR volunteers, we will use information they provide to search our database for volunteers most likely to qualify for their study. Volunteers who appear to match the needs of a study may then receive a mailing containing recruitment materials from the STAR Registry staff. If you receive information about a study and think you might want to volunteer, you can contact the researcher directly to get more information. Researchers will not have your name or any information about you unless you contact them yourself, and then they will only receive information that you provide to them at that point.

What types of research studies are offered to people in the STAR Registry?

Studies may ask you to participate in a clinical trial, use a device such as a driving simulator, receive a test such as an x-ray, or share your opinions in a focus group. Some studies simply send you a questionnaire that you can fill out at home and return by mail.

How often will I be contacted by STAR about research opportunities?

How often we contact you depends on many factors including the number of researchers using STAR to recruit for their studies and whether you happen to match the specific study criteria. You may not hear from STAR for months, or you might receive recruitment information for several studies in a short period of time. Overall, we expect that you might receive several recruitment mailings per year.

Why do I need to update my information annually?

STAR requests that participants update their registry information annually, usually in the spring. We recognize that your health status may have changed over the past year as well as your address, phone number, email address, etc. Additionally, we periodically add new questions to the registration form. Taking the time to annually update your information helps to ensure that we have the most current information to match you with research studies. STAR will contact you once a year to remind you to update your registration information either online or by paper form.