Past Activities

Our community engagement research core built relationships throughout the state, and worked closely with the VP for Research and the Office of Human Subjects to reduce regulatory barriers stalling community-engaged research, and develop training opportunities to address the barriers and principles associated with community-engaged research.

The core is also prepared to use a novel e-Health / e-Learning platform (in development) to better engage small rural populations in research endeavors and test the use of respondent-drive sampling as a recruitment strategy for the Latino population in Iowa.

Piloting Respondent-Driven Sampling

Respondent-driven sampling (RDS) is an extension of chain-referral methods used to recruit members of populations that are considered “hidden” and thus are often underrepresented in research. Specifically, it leverages social network properties to reach marginalized groups when no sampling frame is available, such as recruitment of injection drug users or sex workers.

RDS methods were used in conjunction with traditional sampling techniques to ensure diverse representation in studies.

Previous projects

The use of RDS as an adjunct strategy to oversample Latinos in a community-based intervention to increase physical activity.

In the study, research participants were recruited through random digit dialing (RDD), of whom a small proportion are Latino. Because of the numerically small population and characteristics that inhibited recruitment (e.g., limited English proficiency), obtaining the target sample of Latinos through RDD alone entailed considerable time and expense.

Therefore, we proposed a modification in which Latino participants recruited through RDD were asked to serve as “seeds” and initiate RDS referral-chains. After a discussion with UI IRB, this method was approved for this study.

We are in process of identifying a second project to test RDS as a recruitment strategy for targeting Latinos in Iowa.

Based on information gathered on its use in these two projects, we have plans to develop and disseminate protocols and guidelines to other investigators on the use of RDS as a strategy for Latino recruitment.


Help the Institute for Clinical and Translational Science at the University of Iowa continue making new strides in medical research by citing the NIH CTSA program grant UM1TR004403.