A Qualitative Study of Motivations for Minority Recruitment in Cancer Clinical Trials Across Five NCI-Designated Cancer Centers

Zachary R. Simoni, Michelle Martin, Jennifer A. Wenzel, Elise D. Cook, Badrinath Konety, Selwyn M. Vickers, Moon S. Chen, Mona N. Foaud, Raegan W. Durant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Minority enrollment in cancer clinical trials is traditionally low. In light of this fact, numerous studies have investigated barriers to recruitment and retention within minority populations. However, very little research has investigated the importance of clinicians’ and researchers’ motivations for minority recruitment in cancer clinical trials. Therefore, we sought to examine motivations for minority recruitment across four professional stakeholder groups (principal investigators, clinicians, research staff, and Cancer Center leaders) at five National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers. Methods: This study is based on the data from 91 qualitative interviews conducted across the five NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers to investigate stakeholders’ motivations for minority recruitment in cancer clinical trials. Results: Emergent themes include (a) minority recruitment increases generalizability of cancer clinical trials, (b) minority recruitment is motivated by social justice, (c) some institutions promote minority recruitment through the use of supplemental financial support, (d) federal funding requirements for minority inclusion in clinical research motivate investigators to focus on minority recruitment, and (e) some stakeholders favor a more race-neutral approach to participant recruitment rather than an emphasis on targeted minority recruitment. Conclusion: The perspectives of clinical and research stakeholders potentially inform the assessment of existing strategies and the development of new strategies to increase motivation for minority recruitment in cancer clinical trials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)992-998
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Furthermore, several participants highlighted the importance of recruiting minorities in order to receive funding for grants from the NIH. According to the interviewees, the NIH is the primary funding source for a large proportion of cancer clinical trials. Lacking minority participants may preclude a study from receiving funding for a particular trial and, henceforth, PI’s and Cancer Center leaders are motivated by the fear of losing funding for a proposal or grant. In terms of incentivizing behavior, interviewees referred to this mechanism as a Bstick^ rather than a Bcarrot.^ The interviewee elicits this point in the passage below.

Funding Information:
Funding The articles in this study were prepared as part of the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities funded grants EMPaCT I, RC2MD00497, and EMPaCT II, U24MD006970, and by a grant from the National Cancer Institute, U54CA153499.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016, W. Montague Cobb-NMA Health Institute.


  • Cancer clinical trials
  • Minority recruitment
  • Motivations for minority recruitment
  • Stakeholders


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