About the Psychosocial Research Center (PRC) at Children’s Hospital Colorado
The Psychosocial Research Center in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Children’s Hospital Colorado was established in 2004 to increase the amount of research being conducted within the department. Research is an integral part of the mission for Children’s Colorado and is an excellent way for patients and families to play a more active role in their own healthcare, gain access to new research treatments before they are widely available and help others by contributing to medical research.
In addition to federally funded grants and investigator initiated studies, the PRC has also conducted many clinical trials for psychiatric medications. A clinical trial (also called clinical research) is a research study where people volunteer to answer specific health questions. Carefully conducted clinical trials are the fastest and safest way to find new treatments and ways to improve health.
Areas of research within the PRC
The following is a list of diagnosis for which we often have active research protocols:
- Anxiety Disorders (including Generalized Anxiety Disorder)
- Bipolar Disorder
- Major Depressive Disorder
Can my child participate in a research study?
Research studies have specific rules about who can participate. Researchers use inclusion/exclusion criteria to produce reliable results. The aspects that allow someone to participate in a research study are called "inclusion criteria" and those that exclude someone from participating are called "exclusion criteria." These criteria are based on factors such as age, gender, the type and stage of a disease, previous treatment history and other medical conditions.
Before children can participate in a research study, they must qualify for the study. Some research studies seek participants with illnesses or conditions to be studied, while others need healthy participants. Inclusion and exclusion criteria are never used to personally exclude someone from a research study, but rather are used to find people who are appropriate for the research project and to make sure that the study will be safe for them. The criteria help ensure that researchers will be able to answer the questions they plan to study.
What to expect
If your child qualifies for one of the clinical research studies, a complete evaluation will be done at the beginning and end of the study, with regular monitoring by a qualified clinician throughout. In the case of a clinical trial for medications, all study-related assessments and medication are provided at no cost. The study medications are investigational. Many psychiatric medications that are approved for adult use still need to be tested in children and adolescents to ensure they are safe and to allow doctors to learn adequate dosing requirements. There is no cost to participate in any of our studies. There is no charge for your visits with the psychiatrist, for your physical exam or for any medications that you may receive.
Psychotherapy is not provided as part of the medication research studies; they are clinical trials meant specifically to test medications. Depending on the study, participation in psychotherapy while you are involved in the study may or may not be allowed based on the conditions outlined in the protocol.
Frequently asked questions
Be sure to review frequently asked questions from our study volunteers and to learn more about our psychosocial research studies.