BACKGROUND: Maternal minority status is a risk factor for iron deficiency in infancy and pregnancy. Because language and cultural differences may limit research participation, a prospective study examining iron deficiency included maternal minority status as an inclusionary criterion. Cognizant of potential barriers to recruitment, goals were to quantify eligible Latina enrollees and refusals, examine participation barriers, and devise possible solutions.
METHODS: Mothers and their full-term newborns were eligible if the women were anemic, diabetic during pregnancy, of minority and/or lower socioeconomic status, and/or delivered an infant outside the average weight range for gestational age. Self-reported ethnicity and reasons for participation refusal were documented.
RESULTS: During the first 18 months, 255 mothers and their infants were enrolled. Based on inclusionary criteria and the percentage of minority women admitted to the birthing center in a year, we anticipated 25% minority enrollees, with 16.3% Latina. Although 27% minority enrollment was obtained, only 8% were Latina (P < 0.01). System barriers, researcher perception barriers, and participant perception barriers were encountered. Over the next 8 months, addressing these recruitment barriers improved Latina enrollment.
CONCLUSION: Enrollment barriers are significant hurdles to overcome, but with increased understanding and effort, more successful inclusion of Latina families can be achieved.
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