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Diabetes Educ. 2008 Nov-Dec;34(6):1045-52. doi: 10.1177/0145721708325764.

Effective recruitment and retention strategies for older members of rural minorities.

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School of Nursing at Hampton University, Hampton, VA, USA.



The purpose of this article was to describe effective recruitment and retention strategies used in a community-based intervention study for older, rural African American women with type 2 diabetes.


The study's design was a randomized control test using a 3-group experimental design in a sample of 180 older, rural African American women (55 years of age and older), with type 2 diabetes. The study employed a range of strategies to successfully recruit and retain older African American women. These strategies were initially developed based on a review of the literature and the investigators' prior experience. They were modified as the research progressed.


More than a quarter of the participants were recruited from outpatient clinics. In-person outreach to health care providers was essential to engage and retain their help in recruiting patients. The research team made it easy and rewarding for women to participate in the study by providing a toll-free phone number, culturally appropriate intervention materials, intervention in the home, and incentives. Developing a relationship of trust with participants and the community was critical throughout the study period. Through the use of these strategies, the target enrollment of 180 women was met with 91% retention rate at the completion of the study.


The use of multiple strategies can enhance recruitment and retention of rural, older African American women into a research study. Strategies are most effective when they build a relationship of trust with participants and the community and make it easy and rewarding for women to participate.

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