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Palliat Med Care. 2014;1(3). pii: 5.

Challenges to Recruitment of Urban African American Patients with Cancer Pain.

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  • 1Wayne State University College of Nursing, Cohn Building, Cass Avenue, Detroit, USA.
  • 2Madonna University School of Nursing Livonia, MI, USA.


There are many assumptions about recruitment of African Americans to cancer studies. The population is often characterized as older, low income, with limited education, scarce resources, and distrust of the health care system. Support systems for African Americans are reported to be centered on family and church communities. Observations made during recruitment and enrollments for a longitudinal intervention study with urban African Americans with cancer pain are presented. Majority of the subjects being recruited in this study are well educated, knowledgeable about research and very open to healthcare providers and researchers. Our population is younger than anticipated and struggling with an absence of family, faith, or community supports. They are more connected in terms of phone ownership, but often difficult to contact due to interruptions in phone service, housing insecurity and time demands related to medical care for their cancer. We conclude that familiarity with cultural patterns of a population of interest is necessary, but local and individual assessment is critical to successful recruitment to research.


African American; Cancer; Community; Pain; Recruitment; Urban

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