What is the Gerontology Research Registry?
The Registry is a confidential listing of persons, aged 50+ years, who agree to be contacted by UMSL faculty about voluntary participation in future survey, questionnaire or interview-based studies. The Registry is managed by the Gerontology Program, School of Social Work, and is a resource for faculty members and select graduate students (e.g., those working on a thesis or dissertation) to recruit participants for their research. Registry members choose which, if any, studies they wish to take part in.
Why is the Registry important?
The proportion of older adults in the US population is growing rapidly, and this poses new challenges and opportunities. Since it was formed in 1979, the Gerontology Program has supported students in learning about the aging process, the needs of older adults, and the many positive contributions this group has and will make in our society. A number of our faculty and graduate students conduct research on aging and its impact on individuals, groups and the wider community. Volunteer participants are critical to the success of these studies. The Registry supports qualified researchers to recruit willing, committed volunteers.
How do researchers qualify to access the Registry?
To be granted access to the Registry, a faculty member must first obtain approval for his or her study from the UMSL Institutional Review Board (IRB). This approval ensures that all procedures are reasonable, that any risks and benefits are clearly defined, that the consent form is thorough and easy to understand, and that a plan is in place to protect the confidentiality of volunteers. Qualified researchers only receive the names and addresses of members that fit their study’s focus. For example, Researcher A might be interested in surveying women over the age of 65 about retirement. In this case, only the names of persons fitting this description would be given. The researcher mails information about the study, and members then choose to participate or not.
What does membership involve?
Participation in the Registry is voluntary and member information is kept confidential. Member names and addresses are only released to qualified researchers as discussed above. Members can expect to be contacted by mail a few (~1-5) times per year about studies seeking volunteers. The member chooses to participate or not, and indicates this by returning a response card or signed consent form in a postage-paid envelope. The member may also discard the mailing and not respond at all; this would be understood as a “no” response. There is no penalty for declining an invitation. Members or interested individuals may contact the Registry Coordinator, Dr. Tom Meuser, at email@example.com or 314-516-5421, at any time with questions or to withdraw from the Registry. Members receive an Annual Report in June of each year summarizing studies supported during the previous year.
How do I sign up to participate?
Any adult, aged 50+, from Missouri or elsewhere, may volunteer to join the Registry. Simply complete a brief, on-line survey (CLICK HERE) or send an email with your name, year of birth, years of education, and mailing address to Dr. Tom Meuser.