J-1s in the Research Scholar, Professor, or Short-Term Scholar categories cannot participate in any clinical activities. Clinical activities has a broad meaning in the world of immigration. This document provides guidance and clarity to hiring units regarding clinical activities.

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B-1 Tourist For Business Status - Medical Activities

• The U.S. Department of State (DOS) does not differentiate between clinical research, clinical care, or other types clinical activities. We understand in the medical world, these terms mean different things; however, these terms are broadly grouped together by DOS for immigration purposes and are deemed clinical work.

• According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) (www.nih.gov/health-information/nih-clinical-research-trials-you/glossary-common-terms), "clinical research is medical research that involves people to test new treatments and therapies." Therefore, clinical research is not allowed for J-1 Research Scholars, Professors or Short Term Scholars.

• DOS does not differentiate between contact with volunteer research subjects (i.e. someone who signed up to be a sleep study subject) or true patients (i.e. people seeking medical care) for a human research study. Both of these are considered patients.

• Humans and animals are both considered patients by DOS. Veterinary care and veterinary clinical research for animals are considered clinical activities and are therefore not allowed on the J-1 program.

◦ Note: not all animals are automatically considered patients.

  • An animal with an owner who would be saddened by its loss would be considered a patient. A J-1 could not do any activity involving this animal's well-being.
  • Lab animals or animal models, whose sole purpose for existence is for research, are not considered patients by DOS. Therefore, any work with lab animals/animal models is allowed on the J-1 program. Please reach out to ISSS if you have questions about the animals.

• DOS uses direct 'patient care' and 'patient contact' interchangeably. Therefore, anything involving patient contact and/or patient care is considered clinical and is forbidden under the J-1 program. Remember, the person does not need to be a traditional patient for this to be considered clinical.

• 'Patient contact' is any physical or psychological interaction with a person that could affect their health and/or overall well-being. The person does not need to be a patient in the traditional sense. A few examples of patient contact that are considered clinical are: attaching EEGs to someone, drawing blood, performing an X-ray on a living being, dentistry, psychological interviews for study or diagnosis, and so forth. This is not an exhaustive list. Please contact ISSS if there are any questions, concerns, or doubts if an activity involves clinical work.