Health education; health promotion; recruitment; retention; African Americans; heath disparities; older adults; minorities; underserved


Civic and Community Engagement | Health Communication | Public Health | Public Health Education and Promotion | Race and Ethnicity


The purpose of this study was to 1) describe a strategic plan for recruitment and retention used in conducting eye health education research with African-Americans living in urban and rural areas of Alabama and 2) characterize recruitment and retention patterns for this project.

We evaluated an eye health education program tailored specifically to older African Americans. InCHARGE was designed to promote eye disease prevention by conveying the personal benefits of annual dilated comprehensive eye care and teaching strategies to minimize barriers to eye care. The InCHARGEÓ program or a social contact control program was delivered at 20 senior centers in predominately African American urban and rural communities. From pooled data across three studies, 380 African Americans completed a questionnaire about knowledge and attitudes/beliefs about eye disease and eye care before the program and by telephone at either 3 or 6 months after the presentation. The project consisted of 4 phases and 9 strategic objectives for both recruitment and retention of older African Americans that were implemented in a systematic fashion. Overall, retention rates for follow-up at either 3 or 6 months were 75% and 66% respectively. African Americans from rural areas were more likely to be lost to follow-up compared to those from urban areas. We discuss the benefits of utilizing a strategic plan that serves to address problems with underrepresentation of minorities in clinical research.