Cultivating a cycle of trust with diverse communities in practice-based research: a report from PRIME Net.
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Practice-based research networks (PBRNs) are increasingly seen as important vehicles to translate research into practice, although less is known about the process of engaging diverse communities in PBRN research. The objective of this study was to identify strategies for successfully recruiting and retaining diverse racial/ethnic communities into PBRN research studies.This collaborative, multisite study engaged 5 of the 8 networks of the PRImary care MultiEthnic Network (PRIME Net) consortium that conducts research with traditionally underrepresented/underserved populations. We used a sequential, qualitative research design. We first conducted 1 key informant interview with each of 24 researchers experienced in recruiting research participants from 5 racial/ethnic communities (African American, Arab/Chaldean, Chinese, Hispanic, and Native American). Subsequently, we conducted 18 focus groups with 172 persons from these communities.Participants' comments indicated that successful recruitment and retention of underrepresented populations in PBRN studies is linked to the overall research process. This process, which we termed the cycle of trust, entailed developing and sustaining relationships of trust during 4 interrelated stages: before the study, during study recruitment, throughout study conduct, and after study completion. Participants identified a set of flexible strategies within each stage and called for close engagement with clinic and community partners.Our participants suggest that approaches to research that lay a foundation of trust, demonstrate respect for community members, and extend beyond the enrollment and data collection phases are essential to enhance the participation of diverse populations in PBRN research. These findings offer the PBRN community a guide toward achieving this important goal.