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Gerontologist. 2011 Jun;51 Suppl 1:S33-45. doi: 10.1093/geront/gnr027.

Recruitment and retention strategies for minority or poor clinical research participants: lessons from the Healthy Aging in Neighborhoods of Diversity across the Life Span study.

Author information

  • 1Health Disparities Research Section, Clinical Research Branch, National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, NIH Biomedical Research Center, 251 Bayview Blvd, Suite 100 Room 4C-222, Baltimore, MD 21224, USA.

Abstract

PURPOSE OF THE STUDY:

Investigating health disparities requires studies designed to recruit and retain racially and socioeconomically diverse cohorts. It is critical to address the barriers that disproportionately affect participation in clinical research by minorities and the socioeconomically disadvantaged. This study sought to identify and rectify these barriers to recruit and retain a biracial (African American and non-Hispanic White) and socioeconomically diverse cohort for a longitudinal study.

DESIGN AND METHOD:

The Healthy Aging in Neighborhoods of Diversity across the Life Span study is a 20-year longitudinal examination of how race and socioeconomic status influence the development of age-related health disparities. One goal was to create a multifactorial recruitment and retention strategy. The recruitment paradigm targeted known barriers and identified those unique to the study's urban environment. The retention paradigm mirrored the recruitment plan but was based on specifically developed approaches.

RESULTS:

This cohort recruitment required attention to developing community partnerships, designing the research study to meet the study hypotheses and to provide benefit to participants, providing a safe community-based site for the research and creating didactics to develop staff cultural proficiency. These efforts facilitated study implementation and enhanced recruitment resulting in accrual of a biracial and socioeconomically diverse cohort of 3,722 participants.

IMPLICATIONS:

Recruiting and retaining minority or poor research participants is challenging but possible. The essential facets include clear communication of the research hypothesis, focus on providing a direct benefit for participants, and selection of a hypothesis that is directly relevant to the community studied.

PMID:
21565817
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3092978
Free PMC Article

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