Recruiting underserved populations to dermatologic research: a systematic review

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Recruitment of participants to dermatologic research studies can be challenging, particularly with historically underserved populations. Recruitment of these groups is essential to ethical, valid, and useful dermatologic research. This article discusses findings from a review of 78 studies that examined factors influencing participation in health research studies with an emphasis on underserved populations, particularly women and ethnic minorities. The most commonly encountered barriers to research participation are mistrust of research, lack of access to research programs, and culturally incompetent research design. Motives to participate in research include receipt of benefit from participation, perceived opportunities to help others, and culturally competent research design. Practical methods for addressing barriers and enhancing research participation include culturally competent research design, community-based recruitment, and easily understandable informed consent. These factors should be considered when recruiting subjects for dermatologic research, especially when recruitment of underserved populations is desired. In addition, the literature demonstrates a paucity of research among rural residents, infants, and children, as well as within clinical dermatologic research.

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