Staff and participant perceptions of optimal recruitment and retention strategies for biomedical cohort studies in the Caribbean

A. Bailey, I. Govia, J. McKenzie, S. Richards, S. Coleman, M. K. Tulloch-Reid, C. Ragin, K. Ashing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Purpose: To identify staff and participants perspectives of best practices that facilitate achieving enrollment and retention targets in biomedical cohort studies in Caribbean populations. Methods: Eight focus group discussions (FGDs) were held with research stakeholders including research (i) nurses/study supervisors, (ii) field staff/data collectors, and (iii) rural and urban participants of the Third Jamaica Health and Lifestyle Survey (a national NCD risk factor survey with biospecimen collection) to capture qualitative data on experiences with recruitment, training, retention challenges and potential solutions or strategies for strengthening future efforts. Results: Our findings indicate that trained, experienced study staff with good interpersonal communication skills enhanced the proficiency of field operations and attracted study participants. Targeted community and stakeholder engagement alongside strong support from the coordinating center increased the reach and efficiency of the data collectors. Timely participant feedback, gender-appropriate approaches, and socioeconomic balance enhanced equitable enrollment and retention of participants of cohort studies particularly the hard to reach groups. Conclusion: Well-functioning research teams using traditional and social media promotion, applying gender-appropriate and personalized approaches together with strategies for reaching the less accessible socioeconomic groups, are effective for recruiting and retaining members of a Caribbean cohort. These strategies may also enhance the recruitment of other Black populations in the Diaspora including the US and Caribbean into biomedical studies including cancer research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)849-857
Number of pages9
JournalCancer Causes and Control
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2021


  • Caribbean
  • Cohort Studies
  • Qualitative Research
  • Recruitment
  • Retention


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