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May G. Kennedy, PhD Diane L. Bishop, MPH Susannah Anderson, PhD Melissa Heyward



This paper adds rich operational detail to the literature on recruiting older African American women, an underserved and at-risk population, for community-based research.  Recruitment was undertaken for a study of cancer screening message contexts; that parent study comprised focus groups and a randomized trial.  Social marketing perspectives informed the development of relatively low-cost recruitment strategies.  GIS maps steered leaflet distribution and face-to-face outreach to individuals and organizations.  African American churches were asked to serve as recruitment intermediaries, and the multiple steps in this process were outlined.  The opportunity to participate was announced also through ethnic newspapers and other mass media channels, and the study participation experience itself was enhanced to increase the likelihood that early participants would encourage other women to participate.  Recruitment and retention goals were met.  In all, 867 women were added to a participant database.  Participant reports of initial source of information about the study were kept for the 442 women in the trial phase of the parent study.  Retention for a questionnaire mailed 30 days after immediate post-testing was 89%.  Most participants said they had heard about the study via word-of-mouth (WOM), but in line with Diffusion of Innovation Theory, yields of WOM and other recruitment techniques fluctuated over time, and the recruitment strategy was adjusted accordingly.  The perspectives and experiences described in this paper may help ensure successful recruitment in future community-based trials with older African American women and thus enlarge the arsenal of best practices for reducing gender and racial health disparities.

Keywords: Research Recruitment, African-American Women, GIS, Cancer screening messages

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How to Cite
KENNEDY, May G. et al. RECRUITING OLDER AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMEN FOR A CANCER SCREENING MESSAGE TRIAL: THEORY, GIS MAPS, AND CHURCH ENTRÉE. Medical Research Archives, [S.l.], v. 5, n. 11, nov. 2017. ISSN 2375-1924. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 14 apr. 2024. doi:
Case Reports


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