Dr. Ashish Joshi, an associate dean at the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy and colleagues, evaluated recruitment and retention challenges among rural Hispanic women recruited to a breastfeeding education intervention. The findings were published in the journal Ethnicity and Health.
[Photo: Dr. Ashish Joshi]
As noted by the authors, addressing health disparities requires well designed, culturally adapted research. However, recruiting/retaining minority participants has often been challenging. The team presents strategies used to successfully recruit and retain rural Hispanic women during a breastfeeding education intervention.
Their study involved a two-group repeated measures quasi-experimental design with assessments at seven intervals between enrollment and six months postpartum. Participants (Hispanic women ≥ 15 years old) were recruited through a regional hospital. 79 percent of contacted women enrolled in the study and 100 percent of enrollees completed the study.
Research staff with ties within the community helped establish trust. The study utilized bilingual study materials, simple language, and an interpreter to address language/literacy concerns. Phone assessments facilitated participation because transportation was an issue. Accommodating requests to deliver or mail study materials and providing incentives were also important. Extra effort was needed to maintain contact when phone service was disrupted or participants moved. The team concluded that their keys to success were persistence, flexibility, and alleviating barriers to participation.