Date of Award

January 2022

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


School of Public Health

First Advisor

Trace Kershaw

Second Advisor

Melinda Irwin


ABSTRACT: Background: While Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a medical condition that impacts women of childbearing age, prior research has shown that women of color are at a disproportionately higher risk. The goal of this meta research project is to closely model a systematic process to assess demographic characteristics of participants recruited and enrolled in clinical trials and RCTs in PCOS-related research studies. Methods: An exhaustive electronic database search was performed through Ovid MEDLINE, PubMed, Scopus, Ovid Embase, and Web of Science to identify studies that focused on PCOS-related infertility. Out of the 2,883 records identified in the initial search strategy, eight studies met the final search criteria. Results: Among the eight studies identified in the final search criteria, three studies (37.5%) failed to report the race or ethnicity of the enrolled participants. Meanwhile, while five studies (62.5%) did provide information about the patients’ racial and demographic characteristics, only two studies (25%) included population samples that were vastly women of color. The remaining three studies (37.5%) involved an overwhelming majority of white women in the recruitment sample. None of the eight studies reported or stratified findings across race or ethnicity metrics. Discussion: None of the authors outlined the recruitment methodology nor sampling techniques when selecting participants for these clinical trials. For the five studies who reported on patient demographics, the only information provided was a baseline characteristics table, which outlined characteristics such as average age, BMI, and race/ethnicity of the study subjects. The findings from this study highlight the critical need for future clinical trials to account for racial and ethnic diversity in the sampling methodology and inclusion of research participants.


This is an Open Access Thesis.

Open Access

This Article is Open Access