Recruitment and enrollment for Project Heartbeat! Achieving the goals of minority inclusion

Jo Anne Grunbaum, Darwin R. Labarthe*, Candace Ayars, Ronald Harrist, Milton Z. Nichaman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Objective: The inclusion of women and minorities in health research supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has received increasing attention since the adoption of related guidelines by NIH in 1990. Investigators in population-based and clinical research may need to identify and recruit research participants from community settings in which little is known by investigators of the dynamics and day-to-day needs of the community. This was the case at the start of Project HeartBeat!, an intensive longitudinal study of the development of cardiovascular risk factors against the background of growth and maturation. This paper identifies those elements found essential when recruiting and enrolling minority participants for Project HeartBeat! Methods: No prior experience had existed in the community from which the majority of Black participants were recruited to the Project. Therefore, recruitment methods were based on previous experience of the investigators as well as on the published reports of others. Results: Immediate costs were substantially greater than projected, and the recruitment period was two years rather than one - a circumstance with longer-term implications as well. However, with the support of a community-based advisory committee, the school district, and a local recruitment staff, the recruitment goal was obtained. Conclusions: Recruitment and enrollment of minority participants can be especially challenging; however, many of those challenges are common to any target population. Elements that need to be adequately addressed include the researchers' involvement with the community in which the participants live, a tracking system to assess recruitment efforts, flexibility in the methods of recruitment, and adequate resources in time, money and personnel.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)203-212
Number of pages10
JournalEthnicity and Disease
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Sep 1996


  • Adolescents
  • Cohort
  • Minority
  • Recruitment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology


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