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Introducing: Northern California Research

Sacramento’s premier research center specializes in chronic conditions

By Krysta Scripter

Northern California Research was launched in 1996 by Primary Investigator Dr. Douglas Young, M.D., and Program Director Laurie Johnson, to address the need for clinical research in the Sacramento area.

While the center researches a wide variety of clinical trials, Johnson says they’ve seen a lot of success for clinical trials regarding diabetes, Alzheimer’s, chronic pain and even a few COVID-19 trials.

“Everything we do is outpatient, and it focuses on internal medicine-based trials,” Johnson says. “(That includes) anything that you can work on in the primary care setting, which would be internal medicine, chronic disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, pretty much anything chronic.”

Johnson met Dr. Young while working for another clinical research center that partnered with the hospital for which Dr. Young worked. After seeing a lack of local options, they decided to open a clinical research center. This type of work allows doctors like Dr. Young to stretch their medical muscles and use different skills than they normally would in regular practice.

“It’s a different kind of medicine,” Dr. Young says. “It’s been kind of fun to see that new stuff come out. I guess that’s sort of a geeky way to look at ‘fun’ but that’s what I like to do: Learning new things and being part of it.”

This kind of work, Dr. Young says, is critical for understanding patient health and treatment. Northern California Research’s trials for diabetes, for example, could help millions of Americans affected by that condition.

“So if we could provide a drug that helps their disease process, if there’s a good drug that’s safe and effective, that’s all the better,” he says.

The center also does work in cardiovascular disease, which Dr. Young notes is the nation’s No. 1 killer.

But a research clinic can’t function without volunteers. Without them, doctors can’t better understand potentially life-saving drugs and treatment options. Animal testing can work to a certain extent, but Dr. Young says that’s just the first step.

“I think in the most basic sense, these trials are done on humans because ultimately these drugs are going to be used on humans,” Dr. Young says. “You can’t have the trials completed if you don’t have people to volunteer for (the trials).”

Dr. Young also stresses the importance of research for future generations. A new Alzheimer’s drug may not be immediately beneficial to those suffering at the moment, but it could make a world of difference for the next generation.

“And I think there are a fair amount of people in this world that recognize that and they want to be part of it. So the beginning of our company was to address this need,” Dr. Young says.

Johnson agrees. “Being able to bring that to the community and help volunteers with different types of illnesses… some people are really looking for a change or something that can help them,” she says.

What sets Northern California Research apart is its dedication to the care and consideration for all patients and volunteers. “I try and look at everybody and everything that goes through this office. I’m not sure how much of that is done in the real world,” Dr. Young says.

Northern California Research is always looking for volunteers to assist in clinical trials. If you are interested in helping the next generation of patients find better healthcare options, go to

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