African Americans are twice as likely to have Alzheimer?s disease than Whites, yet they are underrepresented in dementia research. The low rate of participation among African Americans hinders the understanding of the mechanisms of dementia in this population, further widening health disparities. To date, partnerships with faith- based organizations are the most common strategy used to recruit African Americans into dementia research. However, estimates suggest that only half of African Americans regularly attend religious services, which limits the effectiveness of this strategy. Thus, there is an urgent need to develop additional culturally relevant and scalable strategies for recruiting African Americans with cognitive impairment into dementia research. To develop such strategies, we will leverage the expertise of the research team in recruiting older adults who are underrepresented in research studies. Because older adults with cognitive impairment are likely to be wary of strangers, identifying trusted community-based organizations (CBOs) who are also culturally relevant is critical. Therefore, the goal of this study is to examine how CBOs with national reach could be used as a culturally relevant and scalable approach to facilitate recruitment of African Americans with cognitive impairment. In order to identify these partnerships, we will use qualitative methods of analysis. We will interview African Americans with cognitive impairment, caregivers, and administrators of selected CBOs with national reach (total n=100). Interviews and focus groups will be audio-recorded, transcribed, and analyzed using content analysis. We will include two sites with whom we have established partnerships and have a high representation (? 25%) of African Americans: Oakland, CA and Detroit, MI. Interviews and focus groups will occur at two time points: Timepoint 1 will be used to collect initial data. We will return to the same participants in Timepoint 2 to obtain feedback on specific guidelines to help standardize recruitment strategies for African Americans with cognitive impairment nationwide. The proposed research has three specific aims: (1) to identify barriers and facilitators to recruit African Americans with cognitive impairment into research using CBOs with national reach; (2) to examine factors related to trust and cultural relevance of CBOs to facilitate recruitment, and; (3) to examine barriers and facilitators of developing partnerships with CBOs with national reach to facilitate recruitment. The proposed project will address the need to increase the participation of African Americans with cognitive impairment into research. The methods developed as part of this project can be applied to future studies recruiting African Americans with cognitive impairment. These methods can also be used to identify strategies and guidelines to recruit other ethnic/racial minorities with cognitive impairment as well as other vulnerable groups into research. Findings of this study will create the foundation for a larger R01 study to finalize and test the effectiveness of national guidelines for standardized strategies with selected CBOs to recruit African Americans with cognitive impairment into dementia research.
Increasing the number of African Americans with cognitive impairment participating into research studies will provide the knowledge to better understand the mechanisms of dementia in African Americans. This knowledge is critical because African Americans are twice as likely to have Alzheimer?s disease than Whites. 1