Frequently Asked Questions

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Who works with WINRS?

We work with researchers in a wide variety of departments, including Surgery, Family Medicine, Radiology, Pharmacy, Nursing, Rheumatology, Cardiology, Social Work and more. Our clients also have included businesses, state government agencies, school districts, and academic institutions across the country. WINRS can consult on any project producing public-facing materials or that includes people as research participants (human subjects) or project stakeholders .

Do I have to be in Madison to use WINRS services?

No, you do not have to be in Madison. Please contact us to discuss your needs and explore options such as teleconferences or site visits.

How can I figure out which WINRS services are right for me?

Please help us provide services tailored to your project by filling out the request services form.

WINRS provides an initial consultation at no cost. This brief consultation is intended to:

  • Determine if there is a fit between researcher needs and WINRS services
  • Share strategies for recruiting, working with, and retaining diverse populations of study participants and stakeholders
  • Offer advice on budgeting for successful patient/community engagement
  • Suggest additional resources or strategies that might benefit the researcher’s program of research


If you are developing a grant or project proposal and want to include WINRS services, we work with your team to:

  • Review and provide detailed recommendations on grant sections related to study participant/stakeholder recruitment and ongoing engagement
  • Prepare detailed scope of work document and budget for WINRS consultation services
  • Provide letter of support

What do WINRS services cost?

We offer up to 20 hours of FREE consultation for any stakeholder-engaged research or advisory board project at UW-Madison.

For longer engagements, consultation services are provided on a per-hour basis, or by including a percentage of WINRS staff time in grant budgets.

CARDS meetings are offered on a per-meeting basis. Meeting costs include all services described in the CARDS section, as well as compensation for CARDS members who attend the meeting.

  • When scheduling a single meeting: $2,300
  • When scheduling multiple meetings: $2,000 per meeting

We also offer discounted CARDS meetings for graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, and early-stage investigators. Please contact us for more information.

My institutional review board already approved my project materials. What is the added value of working with WINRS?

Institutional review boards focus on the protection of human subjects, not on suitability of materials for a particular target audience. WINRS services can help you create materials that are more inviting, understandable, and relevant for diverse populations.

I know a lot about health literacy principles and plain language guidelines. Why should I use WINRS services?

Use of guidelines alone cannot ensure that materials are acceptable, accessible or inviting to the public. WINRS offers advice on tone, graphics, order of information, culturally sensitive language, and on other strategies to effectively engage underrepresented populations.

Using our services to “pre-test” materials, such as websites and survey questions, can save time and money.

I already work with a patient or community advisory board to get feedback on my project materials. How can WINRS help me?

We can help in several ways:

  • We can design a tailored orientation for any patient or community advisory board. Our interactive training programs “level the playing field” between group members and help members develop a shared understanding of key project goals, the unique role of each project stakeholder, and how to work together effectively. Our orientations also give members a chance to dive into advisory board work through structured activities to review project materials and plans. We use our experience developing over 20 different patient/community advisory boards to tailor an orientation that is right for your board.
  • We can advise on common challenges with stakeholder advisory board meetings. For example, you may be uncertain about how to get feedback from your board on a particular topic or set of materials. You may have challenges with group dynamics or group facilitation. There may be problems with attendance or retaining advisory board members. Based on our facilitation of over 200 stakeholder meetings, we can help you analyze problems and develop proactive solutions to keep your stakeholders engaged and get you the outcomes your project needs.
  • We have worked with multiple researchers who have used the CARDS as a complement to their own patient advisory boards. A patient advisory board can provide great insight into the lived experience of patients, helping you develop patient-centered study instruments and educational materials. In contrast, the CARDS can help you understand how a person who is new to the condition will react to your materials. Their detailed feedback often differs in key ways from the perspectives of patients who have already lived the experience of their condition. Meeting with the CARDS also gives you access to the voices of socioeconomic groups who are underrepresented in research activities. Using both the CARDS and a project-specific patient advisory board provides you with rich, comprehensive feedback on your materials.

I am recruiting participants for my study. Can I invite CARDS members to participate?

If you attend a CARDS meeting, you can get feedback on your recruitment strategies and generate new ideas for recruitment. You may also distribute your recruitment materials after the meeting. We do not use meeting time to help researchers recruit the CARDS, and we do not share contact information for the CARDS without their permission.