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Frequently Asked Questions

If you’ve been invited to participate in a survey, here are answers to some questions you may have

Why am I being asked to participate?

The goal of our research is to learn more about the needs of Post-9/11 Veterans and their families. Your survey response helps us to continually improve Veteran care.   

When I typed in the link to access the survey I received a strange error message (e.g., “Sorry, we couldn't find the shortened URL you requested. The link you followed may be invalid”). Why is this happening?

The error message pops up when the link is not being typed in exactly as printed in your letter. This particular link IS case sensitive. If letters within the link are in upper case, they need to be typed in as upper case when you type in your link. Also, do not add “.com” to the end. If you have typed in the link correctly and it is still not working, try using a new web browser (ie: Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer, etc.).  

When I typed in the link to access the survey it did not connect me to the survey, but listed several VA links. Why is this happening?

This happens when the link is typed into a search window, such as ‘Google’. The link must be typed into your browser address bar at the very top of your screen.

If you’ve been invited to participate in an interview, here are answers to some questions you may have

Why am I being asked to participate?

The goal of our research is to learn more about the needs of Post-9/11 Veterans and their families. You are being asked to participate in an interview because we would like to ask you questions about your experiences.

How will I be contacted about the interview?

You will receive a letter if you’ve been invited to participate. The letter will indicate the time frame and contact information for the study. Then, one of our study team staff will call you. If we do not speak with you over the phone, we will leave a voice message with our contact information.  

Will participating in this study help me and my individual healthcare situation?

This study is confidential and will not have any direct effect on your healthcare or benefits. We will not share information about individual participants with care providers or anyone else. The ultimate goal of this research is to improve Veteran health outcomes overall.

If you have questions about participating in one of our studies…

I don't have a traumatic brain injury (TBI) or seizures, cognitive dysfunction, etc. Why am I being asked to participate in this research?

Through our research, we hope to gain a better understanding of health outcomes in Post-9/11 Veterans who have a TBI. To more fully understand the relationship of TBI and certain health conditions, we need to compare the health outcomes of Veterans without a TBI to those who do. For this reason, you may have been asked to participate in this research without having a head injury or other health conditions. All Veterans invited to participate are equally important to the success of the study.

Am I eligible to participate in TORCH studies? 

The TORCH team is currently doing studies on Post-9/11 Veterans and caregivers. If you qualify for a study you may be contacted by someone from our team. Once you are contacted you may decide if you would like to participate. Participation is voluntary and will not affect your VA healthcare. 

What should I do if I would like to be removed from a study? Or, what should I do if I would like to be withdrawn from a study?

Your participation in every study is voluntary. You can choose not to take part. Your participation will not affect any VA care or benefits you currently receive. If you would like to be removed from a study, call our team at (801) 582-1565 ext. 3468. If you are prompted to leave a voice message, please leave your name and say that you would like to be removed.   

I have a friend who wants to participate in a study. How can she or he complete a survey or interview?

Veterans must receive a letter inviting them to participate in order to be included. Our VA Research Department does not allow interview or survey access to anyone not on our previously approved contact list. 

Why use surveys or interviews to collect information? Can’t you get information from my medical record?

Surveys and interviews enable us to collect your health story that we can’t collect in other ways. We are able to gain a deeper understanding of your experiences throughout your lifetime.  

Who can I contact if I have questions or concerns with a study I participated in?

Our team can answer any questions you may have about a study you have completed or are interested in completing. To reach us by phone, call (801) 582-1565 ext. 3468. If you reach our voicemail, please leave your name, phone number, and any questions you may have. One of our research staff will return your call.

If you have questions regarding your rights as a research participant, complaints, or concerns which you do not feel you can discuss with the investigators, please contact The University of Utah Institutional Review Board (IRB):

Tel: 801-581-3655

What is the Federal Interagency Traumatic Brain Injury Research (FITBIR)?

FITBIR is an information database that was developed to share traumatic brain injury data between laboratories. This will help with cooperation between the entire brain injury research field. You do not need to have a brain injury to participate. If you chose to participate, our research team will generate a unique code for the information you provide. The FITBIR database uses the unique code to link data across different studies. FITBIR is optional.