Socio-ecological Model as a Framework for Overcoming Barriers and Challenges in Randomized Control Trials in Minority and Underserved Communities.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:Numerous barriers and challenges can hinder the successful enrollment and retention of study participants in clinical trials targeting minority populations. To conduct quality research, it is important to investigate these challenges, determine appropriate strategies that are evidence-based and continue seeking methods of improvement. METHODS:In this paper, we report such experiences in a registered clinical trial in an underserved minority population in the Southern part of United States. This research study is a randomized double-blind controlled clinical trial that tests the efficacy of higher-strength as compared to low-strength/standard of care folic acid to prevent fetal body and brain size reduction in pregnant women who smoke. A unique approach in this socio-behavioral, genetic-epigenetic clinical trial is that we have adopted the socio-ecological model as a functional platform to effectively achieve and maintain high participant recruitment and retention rates. RESULTS:We highlight the barriers we have encountered in our trial and describe how we have successfully applied the socio-ecological model to overcome these obstacles. CONCLUSIONS AND GLOBAL HEALTH IMPLICATIONS:Our positive experience will be of utility to other researchers globally. Our fi ndings have far-reaching implications as the socio-ecological model approach is adaptable to developed and developing regions and has the potential to increase recruitment and retention of hard-to-reach populations who are typically under-represented in clinical trials.
Project description:The National Institutes of Health policy calls for the inclusion of under-represented groups, such as women and minorities, in clinical research. Poor minority recruitment and retention in stroke clinical trials remain a significant challenge limiting safety and efficacy in a general population. Previous research examines participant barriers to clinical trial involvement, but little is known about the investigator perspective. This study addresses this gap and examines researcher-reported barriers and best practices of minority involvement in stroke clinical trials.Quantitative and qualitative methods, including surveys, focus groups, and key informant interviews were used.In a survey of 93 prominent stroke researchers, 43 (51.2%; 70% response rate) respondents reported proactively setting recruitment goals for minority inclusion, 29 respondents (36.3%) reported requiring cultural competency staff training, and 44 respondents (51.2%) reported using community consultation about trial design. Focus groups and key informant interviews highlighted structural and institutional challenges to recruitment of minorities, including mistrust of the research/medical enterprise, poor communication, and lack of understanding of clinical trials. Researcher-identified best practices included using standardized project management procedures and protocols (eg, realistic budgeting to support challenges in recruitment, such as travel/parking reimbursement for participants), research staff cultural competency and communication training, and developing and fostering community partnerships that guide the research process.This study's formative evaluation contributes a new dimension to the literature as it highlights researcher-reported barriers and best practices for enhancing participation of minority populations into stroke clinical trials.
Project description:Racial/ethnic minority patients are often underrepresented in clinical trials. Efforts to address barriers to participation may improve representation, thus enhancing our understanding of how research findings apply to more diverse populations.The IDEAS (Information, Description, Education, Assistance, and Support) for a Healthy Baby study was a randomized controlled trial (RCT) of an intervention to reduce barriers to using publicly reported quality data for low-income, racial/ethnic minority women. We used strategies grounded in a health equity framework to address barriers to recruitment and retention in three domains: preparation, process, and patient-centeredness. "Preparation" included teaching study staff about health inequities, role-playing skills to develop rapport and trust, and partnering with clinic staff. "Processes" included use of electronic registration systems to pre-screen potential candidates and determine when eligible participants were in clinic and an electronic database to track patients through the study. Use of a flexible protocol, stipends, and consideration of literacy levels promoted "patient-centeredness."We anticipated needing to recruit 800 women over 18 months to achieve a completion goal of 650. Using the recruitment and retention strategies outlined above, we recruited 746 women in 15 months, achieving higher recruitment (87.1 %) and retention rates (97.3 %) than we had anticipated.These successful recruitment and retention strategies used for a large RCT promoted inclusivity and accessibility. Researchers seeking to recruit racial and ethnic minority pregnant women in similar settings may find the preparation, process, and patient-centered strategies used in this study applicable for their own studies.ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01784575 , 1R21HS021864-01.
Project description:Racial/ethnic minority groups remain underrepresented in clinical trials. Many strategies to increase minority recruitment focus on minority communities and emphasize common diseases such as hypertension. Scant literature focuses on minority recruitment to trials of less common conditions, often conducted in specialty clinics and dependent on physician referrals. We identified trust/mistrust of specialist physician investigators and institutions conducting medical research and consequent participant reluctance to participate in clinical trials as key-shared barriers across racial/ethnic groups. We developed a trust-based continuous quality improvement intervention to build trust between specialist physician investigators and community minority-serving physicians and ultimately potential trial participants. To avoid the inherent biases of non-randomized studies, we evaluated the intervention in the national Randomized Recruitment Intervention Trial (RECRUIT). This report presents the design of RECRUIT. Specialty clinic follow-up continues through April 2017.We hypothesized that specialist physician investigators and coordinators trained in the trust-based continuous quality improvement intervention would enroll a greater proportion of minority participants in their specialty clinics than specialist physician investigators in control specialty clinics. Specialty clinic was the unit of randomization. Using continuous quality improvement, the specialist physician investigators and coordinators tailored recruitment approaches to their specialty clinic characteristics and populations. Primary analyses were adjusted for clustering by specialty clinic within parent trial and matching covariates.RECRUIT was implemented in four multi-site clinical trials (parent trials) supported by three National Institutes of Health institutes and included 50 associated specialty clinics from these parent trials. Using current data, we have 88% power or greater to detect a 0.15 or greater difference from the currently observed control proportion adjusting for clustering. We detected no differences in baseline matching criteria between intervention and control specialty clinics (all p values?>?0.17).RECRUIT was the first multi-site randomized control trial to examine the effectiveness of a trust-based continuous quality improvement intervention to increase minority recruitment into clinical trials. RECRUIT's innovations included its focus on building trust between specialist investigators and minority-serving physicians, the use of continuous quality improvement to tailor the intervention to each specialty clinic's specific racial/ethnic populations and barriers to minority recruitment, and the use of specialty clinics from more than one parent multi-site trial to increase generalizability. The effectiveness of the RECRUIT intervention will be determined after the completion of trial data collection and planned analyses.
Project description:Introduction:Alzheimer's disease and related dementias (ADRD) disproportionately impact racial and ethnic minority and socioeconomically disadvantaged adults. Yet, these populations are significantly underrepresented in research. Methods:We systematically reviewed the literature for published reports describing recruitment and retention of individuals from underrepresented backgrounds in ADRD research or underrepresented participants' perspectives regarding ADRD research participation. Relevant evidence was synthesized and evaluated for quality. Results:We identified 22 eligible studies. Seven studies focused on recruitment/retention approaches, all of which included multifaceted efforts and at least one community outreach component. There was considerable heterogeneity in approaches used, specific activities and strategies, outcome measurement, and conclusions regarding effectiveness. Despite limited use of prospective evaluation strategies, most authors reported improvements in diverse representation in ADRD cohorts. Studies evaluating participant views focused largely on predetermined explanations of participation including attitudes, barriers/facilitators, education, trust, and religiosity. Across all studies, the strength of evidence was low. Discussion:Overall, the quantity and quality of available evidence to inform best practices in recruitment, retention, and inclusion of underrepresented populations in ADRD research are low. Further efforts to systematically evaluate the success of existing and emergent approaches will require improved methodological standards and uniform measures for evaluating recruitment, participation, and inclusivity.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Racial/ethnic minority populations in the United States are consistently underrepresented in genetic research. Large-scale public participation is required to ensure discoveries from precision medicine research are applicable to everyone. To evaluate views toward and facilitators of participation among minority populations in the United States, we conducted a systematic review of literature. METHODS:Six databases were searched for articles published from 2005 to 2018 assessing minority populations' views and/or willingness to participate in genetic research. A thematic framework was applied to extracted data to synthesize findings, and the Socio-Ecological Model was used to evaluate papers. RESULTS:Review of 2,229 titles and abstracts identified 27 papers (n = 8 qualitative, n = 19 quantitative). Themes included knowledge of genetics, engagement in research, facilitators and barriers to participation, and cultural considerations. Understanding of genetics was low, yet the majority of participants were willing to participate in genetic research among all populations included in the literature (range: 57%-97%). Recommendations for research included utilizing community-based participatory approaches, evaluating participants' informational needs, incentivizing participation, and providing direct benefits (e.g., genetic test results). CONCLUSION:Results could influence future study designs that incorporate all levels of the Socio-Ecological Model and better meet the needs of underrepresented groups, thereby ensuring precision medicine research findings are applicable to all.
Project description:Background:While there is a growing interest in the therapeutic benefits of yoga, minority populations with arthritis tend to be under-represented in the research. Additionally, there is an absence of guidance in the literature regarding the use of multicultural teams and sociocultural health beliefs, when designing yoga studies for a racially diverse population with arthritis. This pilot study examined the feasibility of offering yoga as a self-care modality to an urban, bilingual, minority population with osteoarthritis (OA) or rheumatoid arthritis (RA), in the Washington, DC area. Methods:The primary objective of the study was to assess the feasibility of offering an 8-week, bilingual yoga intervention adapted for arthritis to a convenience sample of primarily Hispanic and Black/African-American adults. A racially diverse interdisciplinary research team was assembled to design a study to facilitate recruitment and retention. The second objective identified outcome measures to operationalize potential facilitators and barriers to self-care and self-efficacy. The third objective determined the feasibility of using computer-assisted self-interview (CASI) for data collection. Results:Enrolled participants (n?=?30) were mostly female (93%), Spanish speaking (69%), and diagnosed with RA (88.5%). Feasibility was evaluated using practicality, acceptability, adaptation, and expansion of an arthritis-adapted yoga intervention, modified for this population. Recruitment (51%) and participation (60%) rates were similar to previous research and clinical experience with the study population. Of those enrolled, 18 started the intervention. For adherence, 12 out of 18 (67%) participants completed the intervention. All (100%), who completed the intervention, continued to practice yoga 3 months after completing the study. Using nonparametric tests, selected outcome measures showed a measurable change post-intervention suggesting appropriate use in future studies. An in-person computerized questionnaire was determined to be a feasible method of data collection. Conclusions:Findings from this pilot study confirm the feasibility of offering yoga to this racially/ethnically diverse population with arthritis. This article provides recruitment/retention rates, outcome measures with error rates, and data collection recommendations for a previously under-represented population. Suggestions include allocating resources for translation and using a multicultural design to facilitate recruitment and retention. Trial registration:ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT01617421.
Project description:INTRODUCTION:Antiretroviral therapy (ART) has revolutionised the care of HIV-positive individuals resulting in marked decreases in morbidity and mortality, and markedly reduced transmission to sexual partners. However, these benefits can only be realised if individuals are aware of their HIV-positive status, initiated and retained on suppressive lifelong ART. Framed using the socio-ecological model, the present study explores factors contributing to poor ART uptake among community members despite high acceptance of HIV-testing within a Treatment as Prevention (TasP) trial. In this paper we identify barriers and facilitators to treatment across different levels of the socio-ecological framework covering individual, community and health system components. METHODS:This research was embedded within a cluster-randomised trial (ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT01509508) of HIV treatment as Prevention in rural KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Data were collected between January 2013 and July 2014 from resident community members. Ten participants contributed to repeat in-depth interviews whilst 42 participants took part in repeat focus group discussions. Data from individual interviews and focus group discussions were triangulated using community walks to give insights into community members' perception of the barriers and facilitators of ART uptake. We used thematic analysis guided by a socio-ecological framework to analyse participants' narratives from both individual interviews and focus group discussions. RESULTS:Barriers and facilitators operating at the individual, community and health system levels influence ART uptake. Stigma was an over-arching barrier, across all three levels and expressed variably as fear of HIV disclosure, concerns about segregated HIV clinical services and negative community religious perceptions. Other barriers were individual (substance misuse, fear of ART side effects), community (alternative health beliefs). Facilitators cited by participants included individual (expectations of improved health and longer life expectancy following ART, single tablet regimens), community (availability of ART in the community through mobile trial facilities) and health system factors (fast and efficient service provided by friendly staff). DISCUSSION:We identified multiple barriers to achieving universal ART uptake. To enhance uptake in HIV care services, and achieve the full benefits of ART requires interventions that tackle persistent HIV stigma, and offer people with HIV respectful, convenient and efficient services. These interventions require evaluation in appropriately designed studies.
Project description:Background:There is limited evidence on how implementation of peer support interventions influences effectiveness, particularly for individuals with diabetes. We conducted a cluster randomized controlled trial to compare the effectiveness of a peer-led health education package versus usual care to increase uptake of screening for diabetic retinopathy (DR). Methods:Our process evaluation used a mixed-method design to investigate the recruitment and retention, reach, dose, fidelity, acceptability, and context of implementation, and was guided by the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research (CFIR). We reviewed trial documents, conducted semi-structured interviews with key informants (n = 10) and conducted four focus group discussions with participants in both arms of the trial. Three analysts undertook CFIR theory-driven content analysis of the qualitative data. Quantitative data was analyzed to provide descriptive statistics relevant to the objectives of the process evaluation. Results:The trial had positive implementation outcomes, 100% retention of clusters and 96% retention for participants, 83% adherence to delivery of content of group talks (fidelity), and 78% attendance (reach) to at least 50% (3/6) of the group talks (dose). The data revealed that intervention characteristics, outer setting, inner setting, individual characteristics, and process (all the constructs of CFIR) influenced the implementation. There were more facilitators than barriers to the implementation. Facilitators included the relative advantage of the intervention compared with current practice (intervention characteristics); awareness of the growing prioritization of diabetes in the national health policy framework (outer setting); tension for change due to the realization of the vulnerability to vision loss from DR (inner setting); a strong collective sense of accountability of peer supporters to implement the intervention (individual characteristics); and regular feedback on the progress with implementation (process). Potential barriers included the need to queue at the eye clinic (intervention characteristic), travel inconveniences (inner setting), and socio-political disruption (outer setting). Conclusions:The intervention was implemented with high retention, reach, fidelity, and dose. The CFIR provided a valuable framework for evaluating contextual factors that influenced implementation and helped to understand what adaptations may be needed during scale up. Trial registration:Pan African Clinical Trials Registry: PACTR201707002430195 registered 15 July 2017.
Project description:Palliative care is increasingly viewed as a necessary component of cancer care, especially for patients with advanced disease. Rigorous clinical trials are thus needed to build the palliative care evidence base, but clinical research-especially participant recruitment-is difficult. Major barriers include (1) patient factors, (2) "gatekeeping," and (3) ethical concerns. Here we discuss an approach to overcoming these barriers, using the Palliative Care Trial (PCT) as a case study.The PCT was a 2 × 2 × 2 factorial randomized controlled trial (RCT) of different service delivery models to improve pain control in the palliative setting. It used a recruitment protocol that fused evidence-based strategies with principles of "social marketing," an approach involving the systematic application of marketing techniques. Main components included (1) an inclusive triage algorithm, (2) information booklets targeting particular stakeholders, (3) a specialized recruitment nurse, and (4) standardization of wording across all study communications.From an eligible pool of 607 patients, the PCT enrolled 461 patients over 26 months. Twenty percent of patients referred to the palliative care service were enrolled (76% of those eligible after screening). Several common barriers were minimized; among those who declined participation, family disinterest was uncommon (5%), as was the perception of burden imposed (4%).Challenges to clinical trial recruitment in palliative care are significant but not insurmountable. A carefully crafted recruitment and retention protocol can be effective. Our experience with designing and deploying a social-marketing-based protocol shows the benefits of such an approach.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Social media represent cost-effective platforms to advance the dissemination and uptake of health research to improve population health. However, there is limited evidence available to support researchers overcome methodological challenges related to recruitment and retention of participants in studies using social media for delivering behavior change interventions. This study aims to describe the recruitment and the retention strategies used in a randomized controlled trial (RCT) that evaluated a blog-delivered healthy eating intervention among mothers of preschoolers and school-aged children. METHODS:Eighty-four adult mothers of children aged between two and 12?years old living in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada, were recruited between October 2015 and February 2017 using traditional methods (e.g. institutional email lists, flyers, newspapers, and word of mouth) and Facebook advertisements. Retention rates were calculated at the end of the 6-month intervention and at a 12-month follow-up assessment. Sociodemographic characteristics, Internet use behaviors and retention rates of mothers recruited through traditional methods and Facebook were compared using Wilcoxon-Mann-Whitney tests and Fisher exact tests. RESULTS:Of the 196 mothers who responded to the recruitment call, 87 (44.4%) were eligible and 84 (42.9%) were randomized to the trial, representing a recruitment success of 76.4% (84/110) from the planned sample size target. Among those, a minority (3.6%) were recruited using Facebook. Those mothers presented similar sociodemographic characteristics to those recruited using traditional methods. Retention rates were 73.8% and 66.7% at 6 and 12?months, respectively, with similar rates between mothers recruited using Facebook and traditional methods. Various challenges associated with population retention were highlighted with lack of time being mothers' main reason for withdrawing from the study. CONCLUSIONS:The methodological challenges experienced during the conduct of the blog-delivered healthy eating intervention allowed to draw upon several lessons regarding the recruitment process and the retention of mothers of preschoolers and school-aged children to inform future social media-delivered research. Recommendations for future research include exploring mothers' perceptions and preferences to tailor social media recruitment, ensure that interventions are delivered to them using social media platforms that are already integrated into their routine, and are providing remote outcome assessments to increase participant retention. TRIAL REGISTRATION:Clinical Trial Protocol NCT03156803 . Registered on 17 May 2017, retrospectively registered.