Career or Volunteer in Age-Friendly Studies

Older Adults Lack Representation

Older adults are underrepresented in clinical trials. Clinical trials are a type of research used to develop new products such as drugs, devices, and new health interventions. The goal is to improve clinical care and health promotion services. 

When older adults are not represented in clinical trials, the resulting products of that research may not be as beneficial to older adults. Healthcare providers may not have sufficient information guiding the use of these new products in older patients.

"In 10 already published studies [of COVID 19 vaccine trials], less than 10% of the participants included were older than 65 years, and only less than 1% were older than 85 years – further proof that medications and vaccines commonly used in older adults have not been adequately evaluated in this population.” (Veronese et al 2021:4)

“Older persons were consistently denied inclusion in clinical trials of treatments, including those particularly relevant to them.” (Chang et al. 2020:15)
"Older patients – particularly the oldest-old – remained disproportionally underrepresented in clinical trials of Alzheimer’s disease [129–131].” (Chang et al. 2020:14)

Only 5% of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) reported in 4 major journals in 2004 were designed specifically for older patients1

72% of trials reported in 9 major journals between 1994 and 2006 excluded older patients2 – showing we've missed out on decades of research information that could help older adults today.

Training Programs for Older Adults

A thriving biomedical research university relies on its community members to provide their unique perspectives and help improve healthful outcomes. To include the experiences of older adults, the CU Anschutz Multidisciplinary Center on Aging offers training programs in the fall and spring of each year:

All training programs are free of charge (no registration fees), and stipends are available. Information sessions take place on the first Wednesday of every month from 9-10:30 a.m. via Zoom. 

Consider Joining a Clinical Trial

Follow Research Roadshows and Feedback Sessions

As an Older Adult Research Specialist, you can participate in traveling Research Roadshows to bring research and research teams to older adults throughout Colorado. We hold one Roadshow per quarter to reach out to older adults from geographically and culturally diverse communities and to the family and friends who may attend with them. 

Research Roadshows give far-ranging older adults a chance to learn about research and participate in accessible and fun research experiences. Here are examples of the kinds of activities we'll take on the road:

Stay Informed & Connected


1 McMurdo MET, Witham MD, Gillespie ND. Including older people in clinical research. BMJ. 2005; 331(7524):1036-1037.

2 Van Spall HGC, Toren A, Kiss A, Fowler RA. Eligibility criteria of randomized controlled trials published in high-impact general medical journals: a systematic sampling review. JAMA. 2007;297 (11):1233-1240.

Chang E-S, Kannoth S, Levy S, Wang S-Y, Lee JE, Levy BR (2020) Global reach of ageism on older persons’ health: A systematic review. PLoS ONE 15(1): e0220857 (

Nicola Veronese, Mirko Petrovic, Athanase Benetos, Michael Denkinger, Adalsteinn Gudmundsson, Wilma Knol, Christine Marking, George Soulis, Stefania Maggi, Antonio Cherubini, Underrepresentation of older adults in clinical trials on COVID-19 vaccines: A systematic review, Ageing Research Reviews, Volume 71, 2021, 101455, ISSN 1568-1637 (
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