Understanding the factors driving recruitment and enrollment of African Americans (AA)s in clinical translational research will assure that underrepresented populations benefit from scientific progress and new developments in the diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders. While transportation is pivotal to volunteers’ ability to participate in research, its contribution to enrollment in exercise studies on AD is yet to be elucidated. Thus, this research focuses on identifying factors that influence the recruitment and enrollment of African Americans in biomedical studies and determining whether the availability of transportation motivates participation in time-demanding exercise studies on AD.
We analyzed recruitment data collected from 567 volunteers ages 55 and older screened through various recruitment sources and considered for enrollment in our exercise and memory study. To determine whether transportation influenced the enrollment of African Americans (AA)s in biomedical studies, multiple logistic regression analysis was performed to identify significant factors that drive enrollment. Furthermore, the association of race and demographic factors on the availability of transportation was assessed.
Demographic factors, age at screening, education, gender, and cognitive scores were not significantly different among those enrolled compared to control (not-enrolled). In the relationship of enrollment to transportation, enrolled participants were more likely to have access to transportation (79.12%) than not-enrolled participants who had less access to transportation (71.6%); however, the association was not statistically significant. However, race differentially influenced the likelihood of enrollment, with elderly AAs being significantly less likely to have transportation (p = 0.020) than the Whites but more likely than “others” to have transportation.
Our findings suggest that access to transportation may be a key factor motivating enrollment in an exercise and memory study in a predominantly AA sample. Notably, AAs in our sample were less likely to have transportation than Whites. Other demographic factors and cognitive scores did not significantly influence enrollment in our sample. A larger sample and more detailed assessment of transportation are needed to further discern the role of transportation in clinical trials.