Background: Recruitment and participation in clinical trials by minorities, particularly African Americans and rural underserved populations, are low. This report examines predictors of clinical trial recruitment and participation for adult Marylanders.
Methods: A cross-sectional design was used to survey 5154 adults (18 years and older) residing in 13 of the 24 jurisdictions in Maryland, including urban Baltimore City, and the rural regions of Western Maryland and the Eastern Shore. The survey, conducted between December 2001 and March 2003, used Computer-Assisted Telephone Interviewing and random-digit dialing procedures. Primary dependent variables included "ever asked to participate" (i.e., recruited) and "participated" in clinical trials.
Results: 11.1% of the respondents had been recruited to clinical trials. In addition, 59.4% of the respondents recruited to clinical trials actually participated in a clinical trial. Among respondents recruited to clinical trials, black and middle income respondents were significantly less likely to actually participate in clinical trials; whereas, respondents who received information about clinical trials from their health care provider, who were knowledgeable about clinical trials, and those who had the time commitment were significantly more likely to participate in clinical trials.
Conclusions: These results suggest serious gaps in efforts to recruit racial/ethnic minorities and residents of rural regions into clinical trials. The findings provide the basis for the development and implementation of community-based educational programs for both the general public and health care professionals, and to enhance availability of community-based clinical trials, especially in the rural areas of the state.