Background: A potentially fruitful strategy for increasing enrollment of minority patients in research is to engage minority clinicians. However, little attention has been paid to unique challenges and effective strategies for engaging practices with minority physicians.
Objective: The objective of this study was to provide a model for recruiting community-based primary care practices with minority physicians into research studies.
Research design: Practices were recruited using a 3-step process that included telephone contact, on-site meetings, and follow-up discussions. Strategies used to recruit 18 New Jersey community-based primary care practices with minority physicians for a quality improvement intervention study were assessed.
Results: Twelve of 18 practices (67%) were successfully recruited into the study. Effective recruitment strategies included building rapport using a multiethnic/multidisciplinary team led by a minority physician recruiter and stressing study benefits for the practice. We attempted to match recruiters and key practice members by race, underrepresented minority status of the lead recruiter, gender, career stage, experience in urban practice, and experience in clinical instruction. Practices that were successfully recruited had more characteristics in common between recruiters and key practice members than unsuccessfully recruited practices (mean number of characteristic matches = 3.75 vs. 1.83, P = 0.020). Study benefits cited by participants as motivators for participation included a general desire to provide good patient care by understanding their practices' strengths and challenges (92%) and improving their practice (85%).
Conclusions: Our experience suggests that a staged, tailored, and iterative recruitment process emphasizing communication and relationship building can be successful in recruiting community-based primary care minority physicians into practice-based research.