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BMC Pregnancy Childbirth. 2009 Dec 11;9:57. doi: 10.1186/1471-2393-9-57.

Strategies for recruiting Hispanic women into a prospective cohort study of modifiable risk factors for gestational diabetes mellitus.

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Division of Biostatistics & Epidemiology, Department of Public Health, School of Public Health & Health Sciences, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA, USA.



The purpose of this article was to describe effective strategies for recruitment of Hispanic women into a prospective cohort study of modifiable risk factors for gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM). Although Hispanic women have two to four times the risk of developing GDM compared with non-Hispanic white women, few GDM prevention studies have included Hispanic women.


The study was conducted in the ambulatory obstetrical practices of Baystate Medical Center located in a socioeconomically and ethnically diverse city in Massachusetts. The study employed a range of strategies to recruit Hispanic women based on a review of the literature as well as prior experience with the study population.


Over a period of 32 months, a total of 851 Hispanic prenatal care patients were recruited. Among eligible women, 52.4% agreed to participate. Participants were young (70% <25 years), with low levels of education, and on public health insurance (81.5%); 88% were unmarried. Study design features such as use of bilingual recruiters, a flexible recruitment process, training recruiters to be culturally sensitive, use of culturally tailored materials, prescreening participants, participant compensation, seeking the cooperation of clinic staff, and continuous monitoring of recruitment goals emerged as important issues influencing recruitment.


Findings suggest that investigators can successfully recruit pregnant women from ethnic minority groups of low socioeconomic status into observational studies. The study provides culturally appropriate recruitment strategies useful for practice-based settings recruiting Hispanic research participation.

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