Historically, Blacks have been disproportionately underrepresented in clinical trials. Outcomes associated with low Blacks' participation in research include poor understanding of the predictors and treatment of the disease, increasing health disparities, poor health equity, and suboptimal wellness of the nation as a whole. To address this gap in research participation, we analyzed our recruitment data to identify the most effective strategies for enrolling older Blacks in clinical trials.
Data used in these analyses were obtained from 3,266 potential volunteers, ages 50 or older, who completed a Mini-Mental State Exam as part of recruitment and screening for various clinical studies on Alzheimer's disease. In order to determine the most effective strategies for engaging Blacks in clinical research, we used tests of proportion to assess significant differences in recruitment sources, counts, and percentages for optimal recruitment strategies by gender. Finally, we employed regression analyses to confirm our findings.
Of the total 3,266 screened, 2,830 Black volunteers were identified for further analysis. Overall, more women than men (73.8% vs 26.2%) participated in our recruitment activities. However, a significantly higher proportion of men than women were engaged through family (3.86% vs 1.30%, p=0.0004) and referral sources (5.89% vs 2.59%, p=0.0005). Compared to other sources for recruitment, we encountered a higher proportion of volunteers at health fairs (42.95%), and through advertisements (14.97%). In our sample, years of education and age did not appear to influence the likelihood of an encounter, screening, and potential participation.
Our findings indicate Black men and women in our sample were predominantly recruited from health fairs and through advertisements tailored to their health needs and interests. Conversely, we mostly engaged Black men through family referrals and persons known to them, indicating a need for trust in their decision to engage study personnel and/or participate in clinical trials.