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There are two major types of AHC clinics, research clinics, and medical treatment clinics. Research clinics include an investigator working on an AHC research project. Medical treatment clinics include a physician focused on treating an AHC patient. These clinics may only focus on AHC or may include a variety of other disciplines; these are referred to as multi-disciplinary clinics.
The table below explains some of the differences between clinics.
Research ClinicMedical Treatment Clinic
IntentAnswers specific questions through research involving numerous research volunteers.Addresses the needs of individual patients.
Intended BenefitGenerally designed and intended to benefit future patients.Intended to benefit the individual patient.
FundingUsually paid for by drug developers, government agencies, or foundations.Funded by individual patients and their health plans.
TimeframeDepends on research protocols.Requires real-time decisions.
ConsentRequires written informed consent.May or may not require informed consent.
AssessmentInvolves periodic and systematic assessment of patient data.Based on as-needed patient assessment.
ProtectionsProtected by government agencies, institutional review boards, professional standards, informed consent, and legal standards.Guided by state boards of medical practice, professional standards, peer review, informed consent, and legal standards.
CertaintyTests theories of unproven benefit to the patient.Uses products and procedures accepted by the medical community as safe and effective.
Access to InformationConsidered confidential intellectual property.Personal medical records are available upon request only to the patient.
Release of FindingsTypically published in medical journals after clinical research ends.Individual medical records are not released to the general public.

Source: AHCF and


Deciding on Whether or Not to Visit an AHC Clinic

Traveling with a child who has AHC can be a daunting task. Some issues to consider when making your decision to travel to a clinic include the following:

  • Understand all the possible benefits and risks involved with traveling to a clinic.
  • Understand how long the appointment(s) will last, where it will be conducted, and the overall visit plan.
  • Understand how care will be managed once back at home.
  • Understand how your insurance coverage may coordinate with appointment expenses.
  • If you participate in a research study, understand what will be expected of you as a participant.
  • Be sure to ask any questions and express all concerns about your visit or participation in a study.
  • Understand the registration requirements and which medical records may be needed before your appointment.
  • Remember that participation in a research study is voluntary, and you will decide on completing the entire study before enrolling.

AHC Clinics in the United States


Our community is extremely fortunate to have a number of research and medical treatment clinics within the United States. Contact us to find out more about them.

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