A team led by a professor at the School of Public Health at Georgia State University has developed guidelines designed to improve efforts to involve transgender people in research studies.
[Photo: Dr. Ashli Owen-Smith]
Recruitment of transgender participants can be difficult because they may be reluctant to answer questions about their gender identity and because they make up a relatively small percentage of the overall population, the researchers noted. Evidence also suggests that many transgender people report having negative experiences with healthcare and health-related research in the past, which might make them hesitant to participate in the next study.
“Although transgender people may be at increased risk for a range of physical and mental health problems, they have been the subject of relatively little health research,” the study said. “Identifying and addressing barriers, as well as understanding what motivates participation can aid researchers in their efforts to more effectively recruit and retain transgender individuals in health research going forward.”
The team recommended:
The results and recommendations are published in Transgender Health in the article “Perceptions of Barriers to and Facilitators of Participation in Health Research Among Transgender People.” The study’s lead author is Dr. Ashli Owen-Smith, assistant professor of health management and policy at Georgia State’s School of Public Health.
To guide their recommendations, researchers analyzed data from 67 transgender individuals who participated in one of 12 focus groups, half conducted in San Francisco and half in Atlanta. During the group meetings, participants answered questions about perceived health and health care issues, sources and perceived quality of information about health and health care, and barriers or incentives to participate in research.