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J Immigr Minor Health. 2011 Apr;13(2):352-60. doi: 10.1007/s10903-009-9292-1.

Research participant recruitment in Hispanic communities: lessons learned.

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  • 1College of Nursing, New York University, New York, NY 10003, USA.


Hidden/special populations such as new immigrants are hard-to-reach due to issues such as stigma, discrimination, fear of immigration authorities, and cultural norms. Such factors can affect the recruitment of participants for behavioral research, especially research which addresses stigmatizing conditions such as HIV/AIDS. This research involved a qualitative approach and methods. The study identified contextual factors as well as attitudes, experiences and beliefs affecting HIV risk among recent Hispanic immigrants in New York. During the course of this research, challenges to participant recruitment were identified which were related to the environments, characteristics of the populations, and the sensitive nature of the topic to be studied. Strategies including exploratory fieldwork and sensitivity to participants' fear of "the system" were effective in recruiting individuals from this population. The authors discuss the strategies which facilitated recruitment of research subjects from these new Hispanic immigrant communities and the importance of behavioral research among these vulnerable communities.

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