Volunteer Opportunities in Research

One researcher showing 2 observers a test tube

Shadow Opportunities Restricted

Currently, high school students and undergraduates who want to observe clinical operations and/or visit clinical areas must be a part of vetted and approved through established OHSU programs. See a list of approved programs.

The Clinical Research Investigative Studies Program (CRISP) exposes vetted pre-health students to the world of clinical research in emergency medicine through prospective ED research projects at the Marquam Hill campus. The CRISP program will give students considering potential health related careers hands on experience in the Emergency Department (ED) helping facilitate the completion of clinical research studies. The students will interact with both Emergency Department patients and research investigators. Since 2004, CRISP students have successfully screened, consented, and enrolled thousands of patients into multiples studies of varying complexity, including FDA drug and device trials, and cross-sectional and prospective survey studies.

Our CRISP students undergo hours of rigorous fundamental concepts of clinical research, confidentiality, consent and procedural skills, practice informed consent, continuous learning that provides ongoing research education including the CITI modules on Human Subjects Protection, GCPs, and HIPAA. Once trained, the CRISP student will use EPIC (the electronic health record system at OHSU) to proficiently screen all patients who come into the OHSU Emergency Department for each active study protocol.  If a patient is deemed eligible for the study, the CRISP student will inform the patient and/or the patient’s legal guardian (LAR) about the study, and proceed with the informed consent process if the patient is willing to participate.  Once the patient is consented, the CRISP students will move forward with enrollment procedures which can range clinical data abstractions, patient surveys, and/or work with the ED treatment team to collect necessary patient samples and imaging such as ECGs, blood, urine, or stool.

For more details, www.ohsu.edu/crisp or view the CRISP information Flyer.

Commitment Requirements:

  • Pre-health students, highly disciplined and motivated
  • Able to commit to 2-four hour shifts (8 hours) per week for 12 weeks -then after 12 weeks able to commit to one-four hour (4 hour) shift per week – 1 year commitment
  • Able to commit to 4h of mandatory office auditing shift


  • Pre-health students who can commit to the program for 1 year
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Pre-health students who are highly motivated and detailed-oriented

Interested? Please email CRISP@ohsu.edu to get on the list. We will be hosting information sessions Quarterly throughout the year. To apply, www.ohsu.edu/applycrisp

The Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology is looking for a volunteer to assist with clinical trials conducted by the division. Current studies include research on monitoring and treatment of pancreas divisum, pancreatic cysts, colon adenomas, abdominal pain, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, chronic pancreatitis and ulcerative colitis. 

  • Primary Duties: Volunteers will assist with recruitment and eligibility screening, consenting and enrolling participants, conducting study visits and entering data. Additional responsibilities will depend on the volunteer’s interests and the needs of the research team. 
  • Commitment: Minimum of 10 hours per week for 6 months.
  • Eligibility: Volunteers should be an undergraduate student, post bac, graduate student, or medical student interested in gaining clinical-translational research experience. Must be detail oriented, organized, timely, and professional. Basic knowledge of computer application software preferred.
  • Interested? Please apply by sending a CV and cover letter explaining your interest to Heather Katcher.

The Novel Interventions in Children’s Healthcare (NICH) program serves youth with a range of complex medical conditions and psychosocial vulnerabilities (e.g., insufficient access to resources, mental health issues, involvement with foster care system). The NICH research team, under direction of Drs. David Wagner and Michael Harris, is evaluating the ability of NICH to meet the triple healthcare aim: improving health, improving care, and reducing medical costs. Currently we are looking for research volunteers to help with a new study assessing risk factors of poor health outcomes in youth with type 1 diabetes who would be most likely to benefit from the program. This is a great educational and training opportunity for those interested in pursuing graduate study in psychology, social work, public health, pediatrics, emergency medicine, and related fields.

  • Primary Duties: Research volunteers will primarily assist with participant recruitment, scheduling and tracking completion of study tasks, and medical chart review. There is also opportunity for volunteers to contribute to scientific posters and complete their own independent research project in a lab-related topic.
  • Eligibility: Must be a college junior, senior, or post bac. Must be comfortable interacting with individuals with diverse backgrounds in the hospital and community. Previous experience with adolescents and families, as well as access to reliable transportation, a plus, but not required.  
  • Commitment: Requesting a minimum commitment of 10 hours/week for 9-months.
  • Interested? Please send Sydney Melnick (melnicsy@ohsu.edu) and Dr. David Wagner, PhD (wagnedav@ohsu.edu) a letter of interest, a resume and/or vita, and the names and contacts of 2 individuals who can provide professional references.

For more information about NICH, go to: https://www.ohsu.edu/xd/health/child-development-and-rehabilitation-center/clinics-and-programs/cdrc-portland-programs/nich/

The OHSU Innovation and Commercialization internship program is an educational experience for individuals interested in technology transfer, business development, and/or patent law. Get real-world experience assisting with innovation development and the transition of technology from laboratory to market. Eligible interns can receive a monthly stipend and/or academic credit for program participation. Please note that this program is primarily remote/virtual, but interns in the Portland metro area may have the opportunity for to attend some in-person meetings.

  • Commitment: An average of 8 to 10 hours per week for at least six months time. Intern performance will be assessed every three months. The program length may be extended for interns in good standing, per a formal review process.
  • Eligibility: Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree in a life science, a physical science, and/or engineering; be pursuing or have received a graduate-level degree in science, medicine, engineering, business, or law; and have an interest in intellectual property, technology transfer, and/or business development as a career goal.
  • Interested? Please see the OHSU Innovation and Commercialization Internship Website for application instructions. Contact Nicole Garrison (garrisni@ohsu.edu) with questions.

The Oregon POLST Registry is a secure electronic record of patient’s end-of-life treatment preferences (POLST- Portable orders for life-sustaining treatment). The Registry relies on the hard work of our generous volunteers to process communication with POLST patients via mailed registration confirmation. Registry confirmation packets include a letter confirming the registrant’s information, medical orders, and other printed materials. The Registry also sends out notifications when a registrant updates their POLST orders and notifications for POLST forms that are about to expire. Volunteers will gain experience handling PHI, diversify knowledge of HIPAA compliance in a non-clinical setting, and support emergency services. The Registry team is truly grateful for the time and energy that volunteers contribute to the Registry’s mission.

  • Primary Duties: Preparation of registrant confirmation packets, update letters, and 10 year expiration letters. Volunteers will additionally verify that the content of the mail is being sent to the correct person.
  • Commitment: Between 2-4 hours a week for a minimum of 3 months.
  • Eligibility: Volunteers must be at least 16 years old. The hours are flexible but must be completed within The Registry’s business hours – Monday through Thursday 7:30 to 4:00 PM.
  • Interested? Contact: polstreg@ohsu.edu for more information.

The Pediatric Nephrology Department is actively involved with many ongoing national clinical trials including longitudinal observation studies, rare diseases, pharmacokinetics, and investigator initiated research.

  • Primary Duties: Volunteers will assist research coordinators with study visits, data collection, data entry, and other scholarly activities with opportunities for networking and participation in publications. We are recruiting volunteers who are enthusiastic about research and would like to gain experience in working with pediatric clinical trials.
  • Eligibility: Completion of bachelor degree in science field is preferred but will consider exceptionally qualified applicants. Pre-medical students are encouraged to apply. Must be detail oriented, organized, timely, and professional. Basic knowledge of computer application software preferred.
  • Commitment: 6-16 hours per week for least 6 months.
  • Interested? Please e-mail Kira Clark at clarki@ohsu.edu with a CV and cover letter.

The Prenatal Environment And Child Health (PEACH) Study, under the direction of Dr. Elinor Sullivan and Dr. Joel Nigg are looking for volunteers to aid in their study. The PEACH Study is a longitudinal research study that will follow mothers from the second trimester of pregnancy until the child is 5 years of age. The purpose of this study is to learn more about how prenatal factors, such as nutrition, influence infant and toddler behavior and risk of neurodevelopmental disorders such as ADHD. This study will determine which prenatal factors are the strongest predictors of alterations in infant and toddler behavior associated with neurodevelopmental disorders, and set the stage for new approaches to prevent or treat child mental health problems. 

  • Primary Duties: Volunteers may assist the lab with recruitment, eligibility screening, participant visits, data collection and scoring, data entry, cleaning of physiological data, coding of video taped visits, transcription of audio files and other general laboratory and administrative duties in support of the study. Specific responsibilities will depend on each volunteer’s interests and strengths. 
  • Commitment: A minimum of 4-15 hours per week for at least 1 year.
  • Eligibility: Must be a junior, senior or post bac (or have exceptional qualifications). Coursework in nutrition, infant and early life development, neurophysiology, and infant and child behavior is preferred/ beneficial. Preferred minimum GPA of 3.0. Must have some availability during the workday with the possibility of working over weekends. Must have strong interpersonal skills, be detail oriented, organized, timely, and professional. Experience working with infants and young children is preferred but not required. Previous experience of behavioral coding if preferred but not required. Basic knowledge of computer application software (SPSS, Excel) is preferred. 
  • Interested? Please send your CV, your availability (days/times that you are available to volunteer) to tipsord@ohsu.edu. If you have any questions, please contact Jessica Tipsord at tipsord@ohsu.edu. 

PRISM research team performs phase II-IV clinical trials in pulmonary clinics and hospital settings. We have multiple ongoing clinical trials in conditions like pulmonary artery hypertension, COPD, and acute respiratory distress syndrome. We accept highly disciplined volunteers to conduct chart reviews of study subjects/patients using electronic medical records (EPIC) and enter the information in a secure database and support research coordinators. Our offices are located on the 1st floor of Emma Jones Hall, Room 121. Shadowing opportunities will be offered to our volunteers after completion of 6 months of volunteering with PRISM.

  • Primary Duties: Conduct chart reviews of study subjects/patients using electronic medical records (EPIC) and enter the information in a secure database and support research coordinators.
  • Commitment: Volunteers are expected to be available at least two half days (8 hours) a week for a period of 12 months.
  • Eligibility: Intended for pre-medical students interested in gaining research experience before applying to medical school. International medical graduates interested in gaining experience in phase 2 and phase 3 clinical trials in pulmonary critical care and sleep medicine may also apply.
  • Interested? Contact: prismvol@ohsu.edu with your resume, and a statement of interest/goals for PRISM.

For more information, visit the Division (https://www.ohsu.edu/school-of-medicine/pulmonary-critical-care-medicine) and the study team (https://www.prismtrials.com/) websites.

Intermittent research volunteer opportunities available for motivated graduate students or advanced undergraduate students interested in conducting research with transgender and gender diverse youth and their families. Example research projects include retrospective medical chart review, measurement development (e.g., gender euphoria measure), and quality improvement related to transition from pediatric to adult healthcare. The position would be directly supervised by Danielle Moyer, PhD, assistant professor in the OHSU Department of Pediatrics and Division of Psychology.

  • Eligibility:
    • Must have excellent interpersonal skills
    • Comfortable working in a professional and clinical environment
    • Strong writing skills
    • Preferably detail oriented and organized
    • Familiarity with psychology, medicine, or public health
    • Prior experience with youth and/or the transgender community is a plus
    • Lived experience or strong allyship preferred
  • Commitment: Availability for volunteering for specific projects is subject to change, and specific volunteer duties and required hours will depend on the specific project and current project status. An individualized research training experience will be established based on availability as well as volunteer’s interests and goals. Publication opportunities and/or opportunities to observe clinical care may also be available. Please note that onboarding for non-OHSU affiliated volunteers may take up to 2 months, and therefore may not be a good fit for those looking for short-term experiences. Those affiliated with OHSU may also need additional onboarding.
  • Contact Information: To inquire about current opportunities, please email Dr. Danielle Moyer at moyerd@ohsu.edu with a brief statement of interest, availability to volunteer, and any current affiliation with OHSU. If an appropriate opportunity is available, you will be asked to provide your CV/resume and a professional/academic reference. Feel free to email for any qualifying questions or to learn more.

Pre-health (pre-nursing, pre-med, pre-PA, pre-pharmacy, etc.) undergraduate or graduate student volunteers are needed to assist the VirtuOHSU Simulation & Surgical Training Center, team in OHSU Simulation. OHSU Simulation is the health care simulation program at OHSU responsible for training a variety of health care providers in controlled and simulated environment, outside of the clinical setting. There are 3 major simulation centers on the OHSU, Portland, campus: VirtuOHSU Simulation & Surgical Training Center and Multnomah Pavilion Simulation on Marquam Hill as well as the Mark Richardson I Simulation Center in CLSB. This volunteer work would be up on Marquam Hill. 

  • Primary Duties: Duties include assisting with lab events, facilitating set up and break down of training sessions, maintenance of simulation models, administrative duties, organization of supplies, and assisting with the outreach events for surgical simulation. Volunteers work closely with medical students, residents, faculty, and OHSU Simulation Staff to accomplish the mission of OHSU Simulation. 
  • Volunteer Schedule: Flexible, Monday-Friday with variable hours between 0800-1700. Estimated 4-6 hours per week, no less than 2 hours for a day. 
  • Eligibility:
    • High School Diploma or equivalent 
    • Must be at least 21 years of age for VirtuOHSU Simulation & Surgical Training Center 
    • Must be able to show current enrollment as an undergraduate or graduate student 
    • Must demonstrate excellence in verbal and written, communication, professionalism, motivation, reliability, organization, time management, and customer-service focus 
    • Candidate should be able to work independently and as part of a team, effectively multi-task, be attentive to detail, and possess an aptitude for problem-solving 
    • Individual must be able to lift and move 30 pounds easily as needed 
    • The volunteer will be willing to work within the same lab space as animal and cadaveric tissues occasionally 
    • Professional interest in medicine, health care, simulation, life sciences, and/or medical research 
  • Preferred Qualifications:
    • Course work in pre-health, pre-medicine or life sciences 
    • Professional interest surgery (specifically for VirtuOHSU)  
    • Experience in event planning 
  • Interested? Please email Cover Letter, resume, include current GPA, references, and letter of recommendation to: VirtuOHSU Simulation Center: Elena An, Operations Director OHSU Simulation at bradleye@ohsu.edu 

Additional Details 

  • Parking access on Marquam Hill/OHSU campus is extremely limited. Please be prepared to walk, bike, or use public transit to and from OHSU 
  • See more information at http://www.ohsu.edu/xd/education/simulation-at-ohsu/ 
  • It is expected that all volunteers dress in business casual attire (collared shirt, no jeans or shorts, no tennis shoes) or clean, well fit scrubs and closed toed shoes.

Please note: In compliance with Oregon law, OHSU’s COVID-19 Immunization and Education policy will go in effect Oct. 18, 2021. Visitors and volunteers who have an in-person assignment must be fully vaccinated (defined as having received both doses of an original two-dose COVID-19 vaccine, or one dose of an original single-dose COVID-19 vaccine, and at least 14 days have passed since the individual's final dose of COVID-19 vaccine) or adhere to any requirements set forth by OHSU's Occupational Health Clinic for unvaccinated individuals.