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Recruiting American Indian participants for a genetic epidemiologic study.

Due to previous negative experiences, some American Indian (AI) communities are distrustful of biomedical research in general and genetic research in particular. The Turtle Mountain Community College was awarded an NIH grant to study possible genetic influences on pre-eclampsia, to encourage tribal college students to consider a biomedical career and to develop the local research infrastructure. Pre-eclampsia is a serious medical condition among both Caucasian and AI populations. The prevalence in AI populations of genetic polymorphisms that may increase the risk of pre-eclampsia is unknown. In addition, the influence of these polymorphisms, given the AI genetic background, may differ from majority populations.

This analysis is based on recruitment of cases, controls, and prospective study participants. Approval for the study has been given by relevant Institutional Review Boards. Cases/controls are identified using the electronic records system at the local Indian Health Service hospital. Potential participants were given a brief description of the project and if agreeable, met for formal informed consent. Much effort has been made to publicize the project to the community.

To date, 76 cases, 90 controls, and 42 cohort participants have been recruited. During the past 28 months, 393 individuals have been identified and contact information was adequate for 309 (78.6%), 246 were given basic information, 212 have had full consent interviews, and of these 1.4% opted not to participate. Travel was required to recruit 75.3% of retrospective participants.

When recruiting potential participants in Indian Country, traveling to their homes appears more effective and efficient. Advertising efforts have been questionable in their effectiveness. Having local individuals as recruiters seems to be a very important component of the process.

Melanie A. Nadeau *, Lyle G. Best

Dept of Natural Sciences, Turtle Mountain Community College, Belcourt, ND 58316
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Author:Nadeau, Melanie A.; Best, Lyle G.
Publication:Proceedings of the North Dakota Academy of Science
Date:Apr 1, 2007
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