July 6, 2011

WSU researchers win Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality national poster award

Kimberly Campbell-Voytal, Ph.D., assistant professor of Family Medicine and Public Health Sciences for the Wayne State University School of Medicine, won the 2011 Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality National Practice-Based Research Networks Conference Poster Award.

The poster, "Key Informant and Focus Group Suggestions for Involving Ethnically Diverse Patients in Primary Care Studies: A PRIME-Net Report," was selected from among 36 submitted for the AHRQ's 2011 National PBRN Research Conference, held June 22-24 in Bethesda, Md. AHRQ officials said the poster won for its originality and innovation, potential impact on primary care practice, organization and clarity, and visual appeal.

"I must acknowledge Dr. Victoria Neale as the study principal investigator and her leadership in drawing together a group of dedicated clinical researchers representing practice-based research networks specifically committed to improving the health of vulnerable communities," Dr. Campbell-Voytal said. "We collectively share in this important recognition of our work and I look forward to continuing to collaborate with my colleagues to advance the role of primary care in clinical research translation."

In addition to Anne Victoria Neale, Ph.D., M.P.H., professor of Family Medicine and Public Health Sciences, other poster co-authors include Kendra Schwartz, M.D., M.S.P.H., interim Chair of the Department of Family, and Terrance Albrecht, Ph.D., professor of Oncology.

The study, Dr. Campbell-Voytal said, will develop infrastructure to support primary care practice-based research networks to participate in clinical research studies of any design. "The objective is to identify best practices for recruiting and retaining diverse primary care patients into clinical research studies," she said.

The collaborative multi-site study involved five members of the Primary Care Multiethnic Network, or PRIME Net, consortium of PBRNs, which have a common interest in health disparities research. MetroNet, a PBRN sponsored by the WSU Department of Family Medicine and Public Health Sciences, is a member of PRIME Net.

Research partners from the University of California San Francisco, the University of New Mexico, Baylor College of Medicine and Wright State collaborated with Wayne State University to develop a set of practices found to be effective in the Chinese, Navajo, Latino, African-American and Arab communities. The poster reported on preliminary findings from interviews with 24 expert researchers and 18 community focus groups to define best practices.

Dr. Neale said the researchers developed seven Community Engagement Research Strategies by synthesizing information from comprehensive literature review, primary care minority patients and researchers with a history of success in enrolling underrepresented groups. Subsequently, each PBRN conducted ethnic group-specific focus groups to obtain suggestions about how to approach research recruiting in local communities. A data analysis team of three anthropologists then used qualitative software to code transcriptions and identify themes.

The findings, she said, revealed important aspects of recruiting underserved and minority groups, including the value of community-based participatory approaches to assure study relevance to both patients and health care providers, building cultural awareness of the research team and the clinic staff, recognizing minority population subgroups and tailoring recruiting strategies, the benefits of extensive planning and targeted community engagement activities, and the applicability of these same themes for recruiting primary care practices that provide access to minority patients. Among the most important findings, Dr. Neale said, was the recommendation to approach the recruiting of primary care practices as an underserved, underrepresented group.

The group will complete the study this year with a national survey of PBRN directors to determine their experience using strategies similar to the Community Engagement Research Strategies and their capacity to implement the recruiting recommendations that underlie the Community Engagement Research Strategies.