Dr. Sean Haley, Professor at the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy, and colleagues’ study sought to identify barriers experienced by clinical research coordinators when recruiting under-represented populations and to identify potential opportunities to improve representation. The findings were published in the Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities.
[Photo: Dr. Sean Haley]
Although randomized controlled trials are the gold standard within evidence-based research, racial and ethnic minorities have low participation rates. This is particularly important because low participation rates among racial-ethnic minorities have limited the scientific application of clinical trial findings and, in some instances, has contributed to the failure to detect potential harm when population representation was insufficient to detect negative effects.
The research team conducted two semi-structured focus groups with a purposive sample of clinical research coordinators at consecutive international stroke conferences in 2013 and 2014 to gain in-depth understanding of coordinator-level barriers to racial-ethnic minority recruitment and retention into neurological trials. The team used coded transcripts to create themes defining concepts, identifying associations, summarizing findings, and positing explanations.
The team identified barriers related to translation, literacy, family composition, and severity of medical diagnosis were. Potential strategies included a focus on developing personal relationships with patients, community and patient education, centralized clinical trial administrative systems, and competency focused training and education for clinical research coordinators. There is a need for further identification of how and when barriers manifest and the effectiveness of strategies to improve clinical research coordinators recruitment efforts.