Partnering with Clinicians and Families

Clinician with familyClinicians who care for potential child participants can serve as key partners in the recruitment process. Because they are trusted by the children and families they see, when clinicians endorse a research study they consider to be valuable and safe, families may be more interested in learning more. Clinicians who make their clinical settings available for research activities further provide a location that is already familiar and accessible to potential participants.

Researchers can create strong partnerships with clinicians by identifying and responding to their interests and concerns. They can also be a resource for specialized information and consultation.

Similarly, the manner in which members of the research team engage with families during the recruitment phase creates the conditions for informed family decision-making and participation. Consistent with family-centered care principles, interactions must include the sharing of complete and unbiased information, value parent/family perspectives and concerns, and respect parents as partners.

Such partnership activities are central to the development of the research home (PDF).

Keys to Successful Recruitment

Sonika Bhatnagar, MD, MPH, and colleagues reviewed recruitment processes in a 17-site multicenter pediatric randomized control trial and identified strategies for recruitment success in an article in Clinical Pediatrics. Here she shares some key points with a young researcher. Video with Transcript

Dr. Bhatnagar assembled specific recommendations to enhance recruitment for researchers who are partnering with clinical practices in her Recruitment Challenges and Strategies Presentation (PDF).

Family-Centered Recruitment

Parent learns about a study from Judith Martin, MDThe manner in which information about a potential research study is conveyed to families and potential participants is critical and influences their ability to make informed decisions, consistent with the principles of human research protections and family-centered practices.

The Center for Excellence in Child and Adolescent Health Research has prepared this video which demonstrates how to mindfully communicate unbiased information about a clinical trial in a way that respects the parent’s decision-making process.

Recruitment Checklists and Examples of Recruitment Materials

Integrating the Web into Recruitment Activities

Websites can be developed to provide both brief and comprehensive information about a research study and the condition of concern. An example is the Urinary Tract Infection – Short Course Therapy (SCOUT Study) website. Websites such as this provide a standard overview of the study, which patients can be directed to by the referring physician for more information. Additionally, as was the case with the SCOUT study, websites can provide a brief video in which the PI discusses the significance of the study and what is involved in participation. A special SCOUT Study Toolkit for Physicians provides additional material for clinicians, including academic articles about UTIs, and sample recruiting aids.


Children and Clinical Studies
This National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website provides information for the public, health professionals and researchers about clinical trials. This page has an excellent video for parent and teens about participating in pediatric clinical trials.

The Ethical Conduct of Clinical Research Involving Children (book)
National Academy of Sciences. Committee on Clinical Research Involving Children; Board on Health Sciences Policy; Institute of Medicine; Field MJ, Behrman RE, editors. National Academies Press (2004)

U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, Office for Human Research Protections

Toolkit for Making Written Material Clear and Effective
A low-literacy resource from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

Center for Health Equity Initiatives, Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh
The Center aims to understand and reduce health disparities in underserved populations

Pediatric PittNet