Commentary: Engaging African immigrants in research – Experiences and lessons from the field

Yvonne Commodore-Mensah, Ruth Alma Turkson-Ocran, Nwakaego A. Nmezi, Manka Nkimbeng, Joycelyn Cudjoe, Danielle S. Mensah, Sarah York, Sarah Mossburg, Nishit Patel, Eunice Adu, Justine Cortez, Francoise Mbaka-Mouyeme, George Mwinnyaa, Cheryl Dennison Himmelfarb, Lisa A. Cooper

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Global migration from Africa to more economically developed regions such as the United States, Europe, the Middle East, and Australia has reached unprecedented rates in the past five decades. The size of the African immigrant population in the United States has roughly doubled every decade since 1970. However, research has not kept up with the growing size of this vulnerable population. Data from African immigrants have not traditionally been reported separately from Blacks/African Americans. There is growing interest in increasing the participation of African immigrants in research to understand their unique health needs and the full spectrum of factors impacting their health, ranging from racial, social, environmental, and behavioral factors, to individual biological and genetic factors which may also inform health challenges. This line of inquiry may also inform our understanding of health disparities among their African American counterparts. However, little is known about effective community engagement and recruitment strategies that may increase the participation of this population in research studies. The purpose of this commentary is to: 1) describe lessons learned from our experiences engaging African immigrants in research in the Baltimore, Washington, DC, and Atlanta metropolitan areas; 2) discuss strategies for successful recruitment; and 3) consider future directions of research and opportunities to translate research findings into health policy for this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)617-622
Number of pages6
JournalEthnicity and Disease
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2019


  • Africans
  • Community-engaged research
  • Immigrants
  • Recruitment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology


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