The security of your personal information is our highest priority. Confidentiality is crucial—especially in this day in age—so we wanted to share a few of the key ways in which the California Teachers Study (CTS) works to keeps your data and biological samples safe.
1. We will never sell or disclose your information to anyone.
The California Teachers Study team adheres to strict confidentiality guidelines to prevent any breaches in confidentiality or privacy.
We never share your private, identifying information with anyone else outside the California Teachers Study. Every scientist and research staff assistant who works on the CTS has signed a pledge of Confidentiality. This means they have pledged to use your private information (such as your name, address, and phone number) only when it is necessary for research, such as when we send out new and updated information about the Study.
The California Teachers Study has been granted a Certificate of Confidentiality from the National Institutes of Health of the federal government. This means if someone tries to use a legal demand, such as a court order or subpoena, to ask for identifying information about a participant in a research study, the Certificate of Confidentiality can protect the CTS from having to disclose identifying information about our research participants.
2. We use encryption technology and data protection best practices for the data we collect and store, whether it is online or in secured file cabinets.
Our online questionnaire and study management databases use password-protected encryption software which meets the requirements of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH), a federal act designed to protect individual data. All staff reset passwords at regular intervals, and paper documents with identifying participant information are stored in locked cabinets within designated buildings.
3. Biological samples are never identified by name.
All data and biological samples (blood, urine, saliva, and tissue) donated to the study for research purposes are identified with a unique ID. Samples are stored in locked freezers in secure laboratories with limited access. Identifying information—such as your name, address, and phone number—do not appear anywhere on the data or samples you provide to the CTS.
4. When study results are published, you will never be identified by name.
All of our research findings, like the ones highlighted on our Study Findings page, are published using combined data from all study participants and presented using statistical measures. Our publications never include individual level data or identifying information of our study participants.
6. Institutional Review Boards at all institutions involved in the CTS review and sign off on all our study procedures and documents that involve data collection.
The Institutional Review Board, also known as the IRB, is an ethical review board responsible for protecting the rights of individuals who participant in research studies such as the California Teachers Study. The IRB reviews and approves each element of the study before it is implemented to ensure that your rights are protected and your data are secure.
CTS researchers and their staff are fully committed to continuing the important research into the causes of cancer and other health issues at the same time that we protect your personal data to the fullest extent possible. If you ever have questions or concerns about the confidentiality of your information, or about our data protection and security policies, please reach out to our study team at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-800-568-9471.