Recruitment and retention of minority participants in the DASH controlled feeding trial

William M. Vollmer, Laura P. Svetkey, Lawrence J. Appel, Eva Obarzanek, Patrice Reams, Betty Kennedy, Kathy Aicher, Jeanne Charleston, Paul R. Conlin, Marguerite Evans, David Harsha, Stephanie Hertert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) study was a National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute multicenter trial that compared the impact of three dietary patterns on blood pressure (BP) among adults with high normal blood pressure or mild (Stage I) hypertension. DASH'S high minority representation (two-thirds of the 459 randomized participants came from minority populations, and 60% of the cohort were African American) offered a valuable opportunity to assess factors affecting minority enrollment and retention in clinical trials of lifestyle modification. Recruitment strategies included targeted mailings to specific groups, mass mailings, community and worksite screenings, and mass media advertising; the four DASH clinical centers also reimbursed participants from $150 to $600. The most productive recruitment strategies tended to be mass mailings directed at a broad audience that was weighted toward, but not limited to, minority participants. DASH's African-American participants overwhelmingly (89%) cited health and dietary factors, such as learning more about blood pressure and healthy eating habits, as their primary reason for participating, while only six percent listed the financial incentives as their primary reason for participating. Eighty-eight percent of African-American respondents reported they would participate again in a similar study. The insights from DASH should help inform future efforts to recruit minority participants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)198-208
Number of pages11
JournalEthnicity and Disease
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1998


  • Clinical Trials
  • Diet
  • Hypertension
  • Minority
  • Recruitment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology


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