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RECRUITING, RETAINING, AND REPORTING EXPOSURE STUDY RESULTS TO PARTICIPANTS AND THE PUBLIC
Leovic, K W., V R. Highsmith, L S. Sheldon, R W. Williams, E A. CohenHubal, M K. Morgan, D M. Stout II, AND A. Ejire. RECRUITING, RETAINING, AND REPORTING EXPOSURE STUDY RESULTS TO PARTICIPANTS AND THE PUBLIC. Presented at 11th Annual Meeting of the International Society of Exposure Analysis, Charleston, SC, November 4-8, 2001.
The primary study objective is to quantify the association(s) between day-to-day or experimental variations in ambient air particle mass concentrations and selected physiological functions in elderly persons living in a retirement centers or involved in selected clinical studies. The NERL will conduct exposure studies and provide real-time and integrated PM mass concentration and selected criteria pollutant data to assist the NHEERL collaborators conducting physiological monitoring in establishing selected health effect associations resulting from potential human exposures to PM-related air pollutants.
EPA's National Exposure Research Laboratory (NERL) is developing techniques and capabilities to recruit and retain participants in exposure measurement studies and to effectively report study results to participants and the public. These techniques are being applied in three NERL field studies located in the Research Triangle Park (RTP), NC area: (1) the NERL RTP Particulate Matter Panel Study: 27 African-Americans living in a low socioeconomic status area and eight cardiac patients; (2) the Study to Test the Feasibility of Using the Macro-activity Approach to Assess Dermal Exposure: nine daycare centers that apply pesticides; and (3) the Study of Pet-Borne Diazinon Residue Translocation From Treated Turf to Residential Interiors and to Human Subjects: nine families with an indoor/outdoor pet and a young child.
Effective recruitment strategies include both targeting the specific population and widespread outreach to raise the study's visibility in the community. Recruitment techniques aimed at targeting a specific study population include: learning about the audience/target population and focusing on their needs, interests, and activities; sending initial introductory letters to potential participants followed by a phone call; posting flyers in areas frequented by potential participants (e.g., community centers, churches, veterinary offices); collaborating with or soliciting letters of support from community organizations and leaders; and running advertisements in targeted publications. More widespread announcements such as press releases have also been helpful in raising the visibility of a study in the community. Recruitment challenges for our studies have included: the time commitments required to participate in exposure studies; relatively low compensation for participation; and strict study eligibility criteria.
Once participants are recruited for a study, it is important to retain them for the duration of the study. Techniques that we have applied to promote participant retainment include: emphasizing the importance of the participant's role in the study and the benefits to them and their community; providing monetary compensation, certificates, and personal letters; encouraging a positive interaction with the field team; holding group meetings to promote "group camaraderie;" sending periodic newsletters; and soliciting participant feedback to improve the study and increase the participants' commitment to it. We have also attempted to document reasons for participant dropout from the studies.
In addition to publishing study results in the scientific literature, it is essential that results also be provided to study participants and to the public. In providing study results to participants, we are working closely with the participants so that the results are presented to them in an understandable and useful format and in a timely manner.
Part of this work has been funded by the U.S. EPA under assistance agreement #CR-828186-01-0 to Shaw University. It has been subjected to Agency review and approved for publication.
Record Details:Record Type: DOCUMENT (PRESENTATION/ABSTRACT)
Organization:U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
NATIONAL EXPOSURE RESEARCH LABORATORY
HUMAN EXPOSURE AND ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES DIVISION
HUMAN EXPOSURE ANALYSIS BRANCH