Skip to main content
NIH Clinical Center
  Home | Contact Us | Site Map | Search
About the Clinical Center
For Researchers and Physicians
Participate in Clinical Studies

Back to: Clinical Center Home Page > For Researchers and Physicians
Information for Referring Physicians
Probably the best way for a patient to enter into a clinical trial is through you, his or her personal physician. You can act as an intermediary and source of expert knowledge, which will be all the more reassuring in that it comes from a trusted source. We encourage you to call us at 1-800-411-1222 to discuss your patient's situation and answer any questions you may have.


How to Refer a Patient

Please contact the Patient Recruitment and Public Liaison Office to find out if your patient's diagnosis may be of interest to investigators. Call 1-800-411-1222 or e-mail us at

If your patient's disease is under active investigation, you may be asked to submit the diagnosis and medical history in writing to the principal investigator.


Patients accepted to participate in a clinical research protocol are not asked to pay for their medical, surgical, and other hospital care. Patients must usually pay for their own transportation to the hospital in Bethesda, Maryland. The Clinical Center Social Work Department is available to help prospective patients with personal problems concerning admission. Financial assistance is available only in certain emergency situations.


  • Patients may be referred by a physician or dentist in private practice, hospital, clinical, or other medical organization.

  • The patient's specific disease or condition must be under active investigation by NIH physicians at the time of admission.

  • Each institute considers age, weight, sex, general health, and length of the waiting list for qualified patients as criteria for admission. The possibility of long-term inpatient stays and extended follow up is also considered. Apart from these medical considerations, there are no other restrictions based on race, creed, age, sex, or color.

  • Patients must have a responsible understanding of their role in a research protocol.

Length of stay

Admission to the Clinical Center is for research purposes only. Patients will return to the care of their referring physicians or institution, or to their families, when their participation in a protocol ends and their medical condition permits. Each institute's clinical director makes this determination.

What is NIH?

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) located in Bethesda, Maryland, is made up of 27 separate institutes and divisions. It's one of eight health agencies of the Public Health Service, which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The different institutes, centers, and divisions study diseases such as cancer, AIDS, heart trouble, eye problems, dental problems, depression, and nerve diseases, to name just a few. The Clinical Center supports these Institute research efforts within its hospital and laboratory facilities. In addition, the Clinical Center itself carries out its own research studies PDF Logo in a variety of fields. All of these studies are paid for with taxpayer dollars.

Search the Studies

You can search our database of current Clinical Center-sponsored studies at Search the Studies. In addition, you can find clinical studies sponsored by all the Institutes in NIH at

How do I get more information on referring a patient to a study?

If you would like to refer a patient to an NIH research study or have questions about any of the research studies conducted at the NIH Clinical Center, call the Patient Recruitment and Public Liaison Office at 1-800-411-1222.

NOTE: PDF documents require the free Adobe Reader.

National Institutes
of Health
  Department of Health
and Human Services
NIH Clinical Center National Institutes of Health