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Recruiting and Retaining Participants for An Exposure Study in Southeast Raleigh

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Abstract: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently completed a study of African-Americans' exposure to particulate matter (PM) in Southeast Raleigh. A primary goal was to compare PM levels measured at ambient and residential sites with those from personal exposure monitors. African-Americans were studied because there is little information on PM exposures among this community. Southeast Raleigh was selected from an environmental justice perspective because it is classified as a low to moderate socioeconomic status (SES) area. EPA collaborated with Shaw University, a historically black university located in Southeast Raleigh, on community outreach. Research Triangle Institute (RTI) performed field data collection.

The study included 29 non-smoking African-Americans over the age of 50 who had controlled high blood pressure. The study took place over four consecutive seasons for 7-days each season. Participants wore personal monitors attached to a vest, had monitors placed indoors/outdoors at their residences, and completed a daily time-activity diary. Participants were compensated $15/day, plus a $20 bonus for 26+ days (max of $440).

To recruit participants, letters of support were requested from community organizations and leaders; the local media were informed; churches and community organizations (Wake County Human Services, Strengthening the Black Family, Triangle Family Services, Raleigh area NAACP) were contacted; and flyers were distributed in the community.

Twenty-one of 29 participants completed at least three of four seasons. A key factor in retaining participants throughout the four-season study was their positive interaction with the researchers from RTI, Shaw, and EPA. Additional efforts to retain participants included continuing community outreach; providing framed certificates, personal letters, phone calls, and quarterly newsletters; holding quarterly participant meetings to promote "group camaraderie" and participant feedback; and providing study results quarterly based on participant input. Communication of results to participants was facilitated by asking the participants their preferred format for data presentation, avoiding technical language and jargon while maintaining scientific credibility, and providing results promptly.

This work has been funded wholly by the EPA under assistance agreement #CR-828186-01-0 to Shaw University and contract 68-D-99-012 to Research Triangle Institute. It has been approved by the Agency for publication.

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Citation:Leovic, K. W., R. W. Williams, A. Ejire, J. Thornburg, and C. E. Rodes. Recruiting and Retaining Participants for An Exposure Study in Southeast Raleigh. Presented at 2002 North Carolina Environmental Justice Summit, Durham, NC, October 18, 2002.
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Contact: Liz Hope - (919) 541-2785 or hope.elizabeth@epa.gov
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Division: Human Exposure & Atmospheric Sciences Division
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Branch: Exposure Measurements & Analysis Branch
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Product Type: Abstrct/Oral
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Presented: 10/18/2002
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Related Entries:
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Bullet Item Collaboration on Nheerl Epidemiology Studies
spacer Relationship Reason:   A Project of the Product
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