Recruitment of diverse community health center patients in a pragmatic weight gain prevention trial.
INTRODUCTION: Pragmatic trials are needed to establish evidence-based obesity treatment in primary care settings, particularly in community health centers (CHCs) that serve populations at heightened risk of obesity. Recruiting a representative trial sample is a critical first step to informing care for diverse communities. We described recruitment strategies utilized in a pragmatic obesity trial and assessed the sociodemographic characteristics and odds of enrollment by recruitment strategy. METHODS: We analyzed data from Balance, a pragmatic trial implemented within a network of CHCs. We recruited participants via health center-based and electronic health record (EHR)-informed mail recruitment. We analyzed associations between sociodemographic characteristics and the return rate of patient authorization forms (required for participation) from EHR-informed mail recruitment. We also compared sociodemographic characteristics and randomization odds by recruitment strategy after returning authorization forms. RESULTS: Of the individuals recruited through EHR-informed mail recruitment, females were more likely than males to return authorization forms; however, there were no differences in rates of return by preferred language (English/Spanish) or age. Females; underrepresented racial and ethnic groups; Spanish speakers; younger adults; and those with lower education levels were recruited more successfully in the health center. In contrast, their counterparts were more responsive to mail recruitment. Once authorization forms were returned, the odds of being randomized did not significantly differ by recruitment method. CONCLUSION: Health center-based recruitment was essential to meeting recruitment targets in a pragmatic weight gain prevention trial, specifically for Hispanic and Spanish-speaking communities. Future pragmatic trials should consider leveraging in-person recruitment for underrepresented groups in research.