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Recruitment best practices of a cardiovascular risk reduction randomised control trial in rural Alaska Native communities


Though not native to Alaska, tobacco use is common among Alaska Native people in the Norton Sound region, an area consisting of 16 communities with population size 107 to 3,695. We summarise best practices in recruiting Alaska Native adults who smoke for a randomised controlled tobacco treatment trial. Participants were Alaska Native, 19 years and older, smoking daily, with hypertension and/or high cholesterol, residing in the Norton Sound region of Alaska. Study staff travelled to the remote communities to recruit, typically staying 5 days. Screening and enrolment success was examined by day, season, and staffing level. From June 2015 - December 2018, the study team made 122 trips, screening 1089 individuals and enrolling 314 participants. In the field, days 2-3 (51%) were best for screening, while days 3-4 (53%) had the greatest enrolment. Community size correlated with enrolment (r = 0.83, p <.001). Recruitment was optimised in spring and with multiple staff in the field. Despite challenges (e.g., harsh weather, poor internet connectivity), with active outreach (e.g. tabling in busy areas, attending community events, utilising mixed media, collaborating with clinic staff), the project reached its recruitment goal. Study findings can inform community-based tobacco treatment research trials in remote areas.


CVD: Cardiovascular disease; VTC: Video teleconferencing; ANMC: Alaska Native Medical Centre; HEALTHH: Healing and Empowering Alaskan Lives Towards Healthy Hearts; NSHC: Norton Sound Health Corporation; RERB: Research Ethics Review Board.

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