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Building a new sandbox for children's health research

Research is essential to new advances in medicine that can improve the lives of children. Without child participation in medical research, few major advances in healthcare would be possible. However in past Polls, results have consistently shown low levels of child participation in medical research.

In a 2013 NPCH Report, only 5% of parents said their children had taken part in medical research. Parents who were aware of medical research opportunities were more likely to have their children take part in medical research if the research was related to an illness their children had. Overall, 44% of parents said they would consider allowing their child to participate in medical research if their children had the disease being studied.

Figure 1. Proportion of parents willing to have children participate in medical research, by type of study, if child had the disease being studied

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But medical research isn’t always limited to participation. This month, the University of Michigan Health System launched a new platform for crowdsourced and crowdfunded health research called WellSpringboard, featuring ideas suggested by the general public in five specific areas: pediatric cancer, pediatric heart disease, adult diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, and sleep research. Once an idea is matched with a researcher, donations can be made toward the funding goal and participants can sign up to volunteer for the study. Learn more about WellSpringboard on their website, or on their Facebook and Twitter @WellSpringboard.

What do you think?
Have you or your children ever participated in medical research? Let us know in the comments and on Facebook and Twitter @MottNPCH.