Research Ambassador Program

Research Ambassadors are individuals living with a mental illness who have participated in clinical research that are willing to talk about their personal journey, share their clinical research experience, and talk about how their participation in a research trial has impacted their lives.

The STARR Coalition Research Ambassador Program was originally established to collect testimonials from volunteers in support of mental health research, but it quickly grew into something much bigger.

Volunteers that become Research Ambassadors are engaged on a different level: they identify as a partner in research.

As part of being a Research Ambassador, volunteers help educate others through one or more of the following activities:

  • Speaking with a STARR Coalition coordinator and share their story. This could take place once or over the course of several meetings during the study and possibly after the study ends.
  • Talking to peers about their experience with clinical research to help spread awareness of clinical research as a viable and trust-worthy care option.
  • Sharing their experience with their mental illness with researchers to help inspire them to continue to work to find new treatments.

The objective of this program is to collect stories and quotes to help promote clinical research, but a consequent benefit is that Research Ambassadors are empowered, inspired, and feel like a more integral part of the research program.



Resources for Research Ambassadors

From time to time, STARR partners will have opportunities for Research Ambassadors to participate in their programs or activities. We want to make sure that you have as many resources as your Ambassadors want to take advantage of, and with that in mind, we’ve created a list of outside STARR opportunities.

A STARR staff person should forward any opportunities to the RA’s and site staff that work with the RA’s, but anytime you want to check for new offerings, feel free to check this list.

OPPORTUNITY: Letters to Strangers Magazine:

Share your insights on the global stage by submitting any form of art and writing to the Letters to Strangers‘ magazine, “Lessons from Strangers“, on the theme “Environment & Mental Health.” Submissions are open worldwide until April 20th and guidelines can be found here. This is a volunteer opportunity and the magazine is shared for free with global youths in classrooms and student clubs to further education on intersectional mental health.




As researchers work on new treatments for psychiatric illnesses, it is frequently helpful to meet the individuals living with the illness being treated to personalize the research and give researchers renewed commitment to their work. The STARR Coalition Research Ambassador Program can help address these needs.

If you are a researcher and would like to meet with one of the STARR’s Research Ambassadors, contact us at

Download the Research Ambassador info sheet to share with your patients!

Sign up to be a Research Ambassador!
Please complete the information below and we will be in contact about ways to share your experience! If you are site staff and would like a couple of your volunteers to be considered for this program, fill out this form or email


The Research Ambassador program is available to STARR Certified Sites. If you would like to learn more about becoming STARR Certified, visit the Site Certification area HERE.