Opportunities: Volunteer (2014-2015 positions are filled)

The primary objective of the volunteer program is to provide support to the research team of The Pediatric Brain Research and Intervention Center. The volunteer program is also an enriching opportunity to learn more about mood disorders in children and adolescents, as well as the genesis, organization and running of clinical research.

The Pediatric Brain Research and Intervention Center seeks a volunteer who is willing to become part of The Brain Center team. The tasks for the volunteer are extremely varied; you will need to wear many hats, but the resulting experience can be extremely rewarding and educational if you are interested in children, mood disorders, and clinical research. There will be a core set of job responsibilities which includes data entry, organization, and recruitment.

However, there are numerous opportunities beyond these core responsibilities for somebody who has the time and appropriate schedule. The additional tasks would include interacting with parents and children, assisting with the filling out of questionnaires and forms, accompanying families on blood draws at the hospital, etc. Additionally, volunteers who are available on Tuesdays from 2:00-3:00pm will have an opportunity to attend The Brain Center’s team meeting, during which you will hear fellows and clinicians present the week’s cases in the clinic.

The Pediatric Brain Research and Intervention Center is overseen by Dr. Mani Pavuluri. Opportunities will be available to observe clinicians with patients, and to interact directly with children and their parents who agree to participate in research studies.
The Pediatric Brain Research and Intervention Center is currently running a number of studies. For each study, there are opportunities to manage and enter data, as well as collect data directly from subjects via questionnaires and self-report forms that you can administer.

Other studies are beginning, which involve some combination of all of the tasks listed above. It is not always possible to determine when subjects will be involved in these study tasks, but when possible, volunteers will be able to actively partake in the entire research process.



  • Data entry for all research studies
  • Data management: Given the many studies currently running, organization is essential. Keeping detailed documentation of data entry status, file location, and timing is important.


  • Calling subjects from established lists to assess interest in participating in a research study. Explain opportunities and schedule meeting, if appropriate.
  • Researching, locating and contacting locations (like pediatrician’s offices and local schools) where IRB-approved recruitment flyers can be posted.


  • Assisting parents in filling out psychological questionnaires, and forms about demographic and family history information
  • Playing with and entertaining children while parents complete questionnaires
  • Administering questionnaires for children
  • Accompanying children to blood draws – providing support and comfort to worried kids
  • Providing photocopies of consent forms and receipts to parents


  • Creation of flyers, brochures and posters on an as-needed basis: This is ideal for somebody who is interested in graphic design and can work with appropriate computer programs
  • Assistance with PowerPoint presentations: Organizing, cleaning and editing of presentations


  • Tuesday meetings from 12:00-1:00pm: These are a great opportunity to learn from clinicians, fellows and medical students about specific cases, medications, and assessment practices. (This time period is strictly added-value and doesn’t necessarily involve specific work. An additional commitment is required to partake in this meeting.)
  • Observe research studies completing tasks in the fMRI scanner

Volunteers should be hard working and willing to commit to a full year of volunteering with us. The best candidate is detail-oriented and conscientious. Organization is essential. This person should be interested in child psychiatry and can interact with parents and children in a comforting and professional manner. Many of the children that we encounter in the clinic and through the research suffer from mood disorders which can make their participation in our research more challenging than it would normally be. Somebody who is patient and creative in working with difficult kids is ideal. We are looking for somebody who can accurately and carefully enter data and assist the RA with his duties, but who is capable of changing gears quickly should an opportunity arise to engage a subject in research.

To inquire about volunteering, call (312) 996-0109


The Brain Center and the clinic is a part of the Pediatric Mood Disorders Program, The Colbeth Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Clinic, the Institute for Juvenile Research, and the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Illinois at Chicago.


1747 West Roosevelt Road
Suite 155, M/C 747
Chicago, IL 60608
Phone: (312) 996-7723
Fax: (312) 413-0063


Click here to learn more about how your contribution can support and improve the lives of children and adolescents with mental health issues