African Americans (AA) are disproportionately affected by Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias yet are under-represented in clinical research. Outreach events for AA are offered to encourage research participation; however, this approach’s effectiveness remains largely unexplored.
To explore the effectiveness of AA-focused versus general audience events, the authors examined attendance data over 5 years, encompassing 10 general audience events and 4 events focused on AA. For each individual, the authors searched center records for recruitment contacts and research enrollment. Summary scores for attendance at AA-focused events, general audience events, and total events were compared between those with and without research involvement.
Out of 773 unique AA that attended ≥1 event, 88 became or were involved in research (11.4% engagement). AA-focused events achieved greater AA attendance than general audience events. Although research-engaged individuals were more likely to have ever attended an AA-focused event than a general audience event, attendance at AA-focused events did not statistically relate to research engagement. In contrast, attendance at events focused on the general public was related to an increased likelihood of research participation.
These findings have important implications for designing and implementing community events to encourage AA research participation.