Safety First, Science Second

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the Wisconsin ADRC has worked to balance good scientific research with participant and staff safety. We followed a "safety first, science second" approach that allowed us to continue research while also minimizing our participants’ risk of infection from the coronavirus.

In the early months of the pandemic, the Clinical Core began gathering as much research study information as possible over the phone in order to reduce or eliminate the need for people to attend in-person visits. As the availability of COVID-19 vaccines expanded, the Clinical Core study team resumed in-person study visits.

In-person visits are critical to our research because of the meaningful data they provide, particularly through cognitive test results, blood tests, and biomarkers (MRI scans, PET imaging, and lumbar punctures). 

Additionally, we encourage study partners to come with research participants for at least part of each visit. Read more about our updated guidelines for research study partners.

Mask guidelines

Masking guidelines during your visit will depend on the location where the visit activities are occurring. 

UW Health requires every person in a high risk hospital location to wear a minimum of a barrier mask covering the nose and mouth. High risk locations include the Clinical Research Unit (CRU), WIMR imaging areas, waiting rooms, exam/procedural rooms, registration and scheduling areas, and patient rooms. People who arrive with a cloth face covering will be provided with a barrier mask, which offers a higher level of protection. Anyone symptomatic must still wear a mask at all times.

UW Health recommends, but does not require, masks in low risk areas. Low risk areas include the hospital entrance, information desk, hallways, elevators and the cafeteria. Read the UW Health Patient and Visitor Guidelines.

Some research activities occur in UW campus spaces. As of 3/12/22, masks are optional in many of these spaces. Campus spaces include some of our research testing and exam rooms and the Waisman Center imaging areas. 

While masks are no longer required in most UW campus spaces, they remain highly encouraged as COVID-19 continues to spread in our community. You will find that most of our staff continue to wear masks during your visit. If you are unsure whether you are in an area where masks are required, please ask your study visit team. We appreciate your continued cooperation with these guidelines.

What should I do if I'm experiencing symptoms of COVID-19?

In the days before your visit, you will receive a reminder call from your study team during which a team member will ask you if you are experiencing potential COVID-19 symptoms. You will also encounter on-site screenings when you arrive on the day of your visit. Please be completely honest during these screenings. If you have had a confirmed exposure to COVID-19 or are experiencing any of the following potential symptoms of COVID-19, please do not attend a study visit. Stay home and contact us at (608) 263-2582 to cancel your visit. If you arrive at your visit and are found to have potential symptoms of COVID-19, our staff will cancel the visit.

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for information on what to do if you are sick.


If you have questions, email us at, or call (608) 263-2582.

Updated 3/22/2022