To meet expectations for the participation of minority populations in research, we committed to enroll 140 minority subjects in addition to a random sample of Olmsted County, Minnesota residents (90% white) for a study of risk factors for age-related bone loss and fractures. We successfully enrolled 597 additional minority subjects but encountered specific problems with respect to identification of potential subjects, recruitment, obtaining informed consent, transportation to the study site, and collecting study data. These problems were resolved by observing the tenets of outreach to a diverse study population, namely (1) understand the target population; (2) establish explicit recruitment goals; (3) agree on research plans between study staff and minority communities; (4) continuously evaluate the recruitment process; and (5) maintain lines of communication. Success depended especially on the recruitment of cultural advisors from the different ethnic groups. These special efforts increased the recruitment cost substantially; the total expense of $122,000 for recruiting 550 Asian, Hispanic, and Somali subjects was almost 5-fold higher than the $26,000 required to recruit 699 mostly white study subjects from the population who were contacted by mail. Although it is not impossible to recruit minority subjects, investigators (and grant reviewers) should recognize that significant resources are required to gain access to ethnic communities for research. These results should contribute to more realistic budgets for recruiting minority subjects into clinical research studies.
- Study methods
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine