The objective of the Recruitment and Retention Shared Facility (RRSF) is to provide an infrastructure to recruit subjects to cancer control and therapeutic trials with expertise and emphasis on targeting minorities, women, and older individuals. To achieve this goal, the facility: 1) provides diverse recruitment services (developing recruitment strategies and materials;recruiting and scheduling subjects, etc.);2) provides the necessary linkage between CCC researchers and the surrounding communities;3) and maintains information systems with Recruitment Data Bases (RDB), Recruitment Tracking System (RTS), and Health Profile System (HPS) to identify subjects with health profiles of interest to investigators. Since its inception, the RRSF demonstrated success in recruiting participants primarily for large population-based clinical trials. More than 70,000 persons were recruited and screened for research studies; 23,103 participants were enrolled in 19 cancer studies;30% of these participants were African-American (a population of specific interest in our growing number of NIH-funded projects). More recent efforts focused on developing new strategies to recruit participants specifically for therapeutic clinical trials. An NCI-funded model program was implemented entitled "Increasing Minority Participation in Clinical Trials" (IMPaCT) through Patient Navigation. IMPaCT aims to provide equal access to clinical trials for low-resource and minority patients by helping them overcome barriers to participation and move through the healthcare system. UAB is now the lead institution to provide training to implement the IMPaCT Patient Navigation program in five additional Cancer Centers with an emphasis on minority populations: the University of Minnesota, the University of Texas-MD Anderson, Johns Hopkins, and University of California-Davis. In addition, an IMPaCT Administrative Supplement was funded to extend the project to Cooper Green Mercy Hospital (CGMH), a county hospital that serves indigent patients in Birmingham. This project offers the opportunity to participate in clinical trials to CGMH patients who previously had no access to clinical trials, and the project forges new collaborations between CCC investigators and CGMH physicians. In addition, our experience with the IMPaCT Patient Navigation also resulted in a National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities grant to create a national consortium to implement and evaluate new strategies to reduce health disparities by enhancing enrollment of minorities in cancer clinical trials. This national-level work rests upon the RRSF's continued success in providing excellent recruiting support for the UAB-CCC.
Successful recruitment is an initial critical step in conducting a successful clinical trial, and participant retention assures that the trial will provide meaningful results. The RRSF provides valuable support for investigators who conduct both therapeutic and non-therapeutic clinical trials, as well as population-based research. It is critical that trial participants represent the entire cross-section of the US population?even more so in diseases associated with health disparities. The RRSF has developed excellent infrastructure for minority recruitment, and disseminates successful approaches nationally.
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