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Public Health. 2011 Apr;125(4):201-9. doi: 10.1016/j.puhe.2011.01.013. Epub 2011 Mar 29.

Challenges in recruiting South Asians into prevention trials: health professional and community recruiters' perceptions on the PODOSA trial.

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Edinburgh Ethnicity and Health Research Group, Centre for Population Health Sciences, University of Edinburgh, Medical School, Teviot Place, Edinburgh EH8 9AG, UK.



Recruitment of ethnic minority groups into trials is important. This was studied from the recruiters' perspective in the Prevention of Diabetes and Obesity in South Asians (PODOSA) trial.


Semi-quantitative questionnaire survey of all 22 health professionals and 27 community workers involved in Edinburgh and Glasgow. Numbers and proportions were tabulated, while free-text responses were grouped into themes.


The response rate was 40/49 (82%). In the closed questions, family responsibilities, prior general practitioner screening and low interest were the main factors reported by recruiters as hindering referrals (each 28%), followed by fear of needle pricks and finding out their diabetes status (each 23%). The importance of the prevention of diabetes (60%), explaining the trial in a South Asian language (46%), verbal dialogue (43%) and the recruiter's personal relationship with the recruitee (40%) favoured referrals. Health professionals' perceived strength was their knowledge of diabetes (66%), and community workers' strength was explaining the trial in South Asian languages (65%). Strategies to improve recruitment included stronger partnership between researchers and community organizations. The open-ended response identified seven main themes: (1) shortage of recruiters' and recruitees' time; (2) poor understanding of the trial by recruitees; (3) lack of knowledge about the disease among recruitees; (4) lack of motivation and interest among recruitees; (5) delay in receiving appointments from the PODOSA team; (6) mistrust of research; and (7) narrow entry criteria.


These insights into recruiters' perspectives should help trialists improve participation by ethnic minority populations.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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