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J Natl Med Assoc. 2007 Aug;99(8):917-22.

Recruiting diverse patients to a breast cancer risk communication trial--waiting rooms can improve access.

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Department of Human Genetics, Massey Cancer Center, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA 23298, USA.


Low participation among underserved populations in health research constrains progress in public health practices. From 2003 to 2005, Women's Health Clinic patients at the VCU Health System were recruited to a trial investigating breast cancer risk communication. In secondary analyses, we examined dimensions of the recruitment of these diverse women. The sample characteristics (age, insurance, race and previous mammograms) were compared to the overall clinic. Of recruitment attempts for eligible women, 45% consented; of those who declined, the top cited reasons were lack of time (40%) and lack of interest (18%). Of 899 participants, 35% qualified for the indigent care program, compared to 31% of the overall clinic (P<0.001). Forty-five percent of participants were African American, compared to 54% of overall clinic patients (P<0.001). Participants were younger (50 vs. 53 years, P<0.001) than the overall clinic population. Nonrepresentative enrollment of patients in clinical trials is common and could lead to suboptimal applicability of findings. Although there were statistically significant race and age differences between the study sample and the overall population, we demonstrate that waiting room recruitment can engage diverse women in a clinical trial and cancer risk communication.

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