Stacy UyBico

Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Medical Doctor (MD)

First Advisor

Cary Gross


Background: Despite the pervasive underrepresentation of minorities in health research studies, little is known about strategies that aim to increase minority enrollment in research. Purpose: The purpose of this study was to identify whether elder African American and Latinos were more likely to refuse research participation, identify tangible and specific incentives to improve research participation in this population, and to review the successes and data reporting of recruitment interventions attempted on diverse populations at large, including the non-elderly. Methods: We conducted a review of Yale OAIC studies to determine minority vs. non-minority research enrollment rates, interviewed key informants about likely barriers and gateways to minority research participation, conducted focus groups and administered a quantitative survey on and to elderly African Americans and Latinos in the New Haven, CT area, and performed a systematic review of published studies attempting to recruit diverse populations. Results: Results from analyzing OAIC studies determined that elderly minorities were not more likely to refuse research participation. Main themes that emerged from the Key informant interviews and Focus groups were access, the benefits of research and trust in medicine and doctors as well as in researchers and research procedures. Enticements most often identified by survey participants as very important to enrolling in research studies included disclosure of study findings, free health care, 24-hr access to study personnel, explanation of study safety precautions, researchers showing respect, and presence of Spanish speaking research staff for Latinos. The systematic review of attempted recruitment interventions on diverse populations identified that most such studies published do not offer adequate qualitative and quantitative data, are recruiting for preventive studies, are performed more so on African Americans, and that social marketing and community outreach were more commonly attempted when compared to referrals and health system recruitment. Social marketing is successful in leading to the most subjects enrolled with the caveat that it requires a large sample to be screened. Discussion: Results suggest that minorities can be recruited to medical research, and that innovative methods such as interviewing key informants and conducting focus groups are also particularly helpful in assessing their opinions. Social marketing recruitment interviews appear promising, but better quantitative and qualitative data reporting must be carried out in the future in order to better inform researchers on the ideal ways to recruit diverse populations.


This is an Open Access Thesis.

Open Access

This Article is Open Access