The fastest growing segments of older adults include those from groups that have traditionally been underrepresented in research studies. Those conducting research in aging need understanding of how to engage with communities as partners to develop research proposals and recruitment strategies that motivate and sustain participants from these groups. Many approaches to recruitment focus on identifying large pools of potential participants and ?trial ready cohorts? of pre-screened individuals. These approaches do not yet have established success in aging populations and the platforms used to reach these large numbers may have limited value in aging and diverse cohorts, which depend on trusted sources to make decisions. Our project will develop, evaluate, and document a replicable process for creating the capacity and infrastructure for community-involvement necessary for ensuring enrollment goals of aging studies can be achieved and establishing the approaches by which to do so. Building on the established model for cultivating and leveraging collaboratory teams across scientific and non-scientific divides to address issues of equity in specific research areas, this project will develop, evaluate and disseminate a Recruitment Accelerator for Diversity in Aging Research, Cognitive Loss and Dementia (RADAR-CLD) at Mount Sinai and SUNY Upstate. Both the NYC and Syracuse sites have strong community partners and establishing the project in New York City and Syracuse allows an evaluation of the effectiveness of the Community Research Liaison (CRL) and Accelerator model in two distinct communities. The Accelerators will focus on the topic of recruiting and retaining diverse, older adults with or at risk for cognitive loss with application to NIH-funded studies. The project includes workforce development to create a novel professional, the CRL, not previously recognized in clinical trial staffing, who will be uniquely trained to maximize research participation by connecting the community and research partners through the Accelerator activities. The CRL will assemble collaborative teams including community seniors, patients, advocates, caregivers, families, clinicians, funders, public health and advocacy professionals, research teams and industry to be prepared with skills for effective group dynamics by the CRL and may create established networks for recruitment education and outreach. Accelerator meetings around specific NIH-studies will be organized and Accelerator-recommended, stakeholder-led projects will be supported by RADAR-CLD funds, with outcomes on recruitment, retention and participation diversity documented. Manuals of materials and methods for developing and sustaining the CRL professional and Accelerator infrastructure will be disseminated for implementation at other sites. Documentation of process and establishment of models of cost and time will allow appropriate allocation of budgets toward sustainability of the proposed CRL capacity, Accelerator infrastructure and innovative engagement activities for promoting diverse participation in aging research.
This project seeks to create research questions and approaches promoting recruitment and retention of diverse elders into clinical research through cultivation of Accelerators, collaboratory teams of aging cohort stakeholders and researchers. This includes development of a novel research professional, the Community Research Liaison (CRL), who be trained to prepare and steward the Accelerator, fostering an environment of trust, mutual respect, and innovation of stakeholder-led engagement tactics. Materials and methods for creating the CRL professional and Accelerator infrastructure will be disseminated for replication at other sites, with models of cost and time for all activities and a toolkit of resources.