Barriers and Strategies for Recruitment of Racial and Ethnic Minorities: Perspectives from Neurological Clinical Research Coordinators

Sean J. Haley, Lauren E. Southwick, Nina S. Parikh, Jazmin Rivera, Dorothy Farrar-Edwards, Bernadette Boden-Albala

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) are the gold standard within evidence-based research. Low participant accrual rates, especially of underrepresented groups (e.g., racial-ethnic minorities), may jeopardize clinical studies’ viability and strength of findings. Research has begun to unweave clinical trial mechanics, including the roles of clinical research coordinators, to improve trial participation rates. Methods: Two semi-structured focus groups were conducted with a purposive sample of 29 clinical research coordinators (CRCs) 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. Coded transcripts were used to create themes to define concepts, identify associations, summarize findings, and posit explanations. Results: Barriers related to translation, literacy, family composition, and severity of medical diagnosis were identified. 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 CRCs. Conclusion: Patient level barriers to clinical trial recruitment are well documented. Less is known about barriers facing CRCs. Further identification of how and when barriers manifest and the effectiveness of strategies to improve CRCs recruitment efforts is warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1225-1236
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2017


  • Barriers
  • Clinical research coordinators
  • Clinical trials
  • Secondary 92C50
  • Strategies MSC Primary 91C99
  • Underrepresented populations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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