Arab Americans; cardiovascular risk factors; community-based research; metabolic syndrome; racial/ethnic minorities; sample recruitment.


Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Epidemiology | Public Health


While diabetes prevalence and cardiovascular risk factors have been increasing among Arab populations worldwide, few studies of Arab Americans have been conducted because of the difficulty in recruiting Arab American participants. Cultural sensitivity and social awareness of different immigrant groups could ensure successful recruitment and retention in clinical studies. While the primary objective of our overall research project was to determine the prevalence of metabolic syndrome in Arab Americans, the focus of this article is to describe the methodology used to overcome challenges in recruiting and enrolling Arab Americans for a community-based study. We used novel methods, including open houses, religious-based venues, and engagement of community leaders, to encourage participation in this clinical and epidemiological study. A community-based approach involving community leaders and educators was useful in recruiting and encouraging participation in this study. As a result, we were able to collect clinical and anthropometric data from 136 Arab American men and women living in the Washington, DC, area and obtain information regarding their chronic diseases, mental health, and acculturation into U.S. culture and lifestyle. Our sampling methodology may serve as a model of a successful recruitment and enrollment strategy, and may assist other researchers to ensure sufficient power in future studies. Engagement of minority participants in clinical studies will enable the creation of targeted clinical intervention and prevention programs for underrepresented and understudied populations.