African Americans and clinical research: Evidence concerning barriers and facilitators to participation and recruitment recommendations

Travonia B. Hughes, Vijay R. Varma, Corinne Pettigrew, Marilyn S. Albert, Barbara J. Bowers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose of the Study: The goal of the study was to examine barriers and facilitators to clinical research participation among African Americans, as well as recommendations for overcoming these. Design and Methods: Eight focus groups were conducted consisting of 64 individuals. These focus groups targeted 2 groups of individuals: (a) community members, including both individuals involved in research and individuals not involved in research, and (b) community leaders, including clergy, community health care providers and service providers who may influence decisions to participate in research. Results: Among participants in both groups, the most common barriers to participation included fear and mistrust of research due to multiple factors, such as a lack of information about research and prevailing knowledge of historical occurrences. Facilitators to research participation included intrinsic factors, such as a desire to help others, and extrinsic factors, such as familiarity with the research recruiter. The focus groups also directly engaged participants in discussions of strategies that might improve recruitment, such as the importance of providing personal stories that enable community members to understand the potential benefits of research. Implications: Findings from these focus groups address the mandate from funding agencies that emphasize the importance of including racially diverse populations in clinical research studies, and offer potential solutions for increasing the recruitment and retention of minority participants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)348-358
Number of pages11
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2017


  • Community outreach
  • Diversity
  • Focus groups

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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