The importance of community and culture for the recruitment, engagement, and retention of Chinese American immigrants in health interventions

Transl Behav Med. 2021 May 8:ibab053. doi: 10.1093/tbm/ibab053. Online ahead of print.


Chinese Americans experience cancer health disparities throughout the entire cancer continuum. Yet, they remain underrepresented in health research in part due to barriers in recruitment, engagement, and retention. This paper describes the strategies that we devised, by drawing upon our experiences with conducting two culturally sensitive cancer intervention studies, to help researchers improve their recruitment and retention rates of Chinese Americans in health research and address the gap in knowledge on intervention research with this population. The first study assessed the efficacy, adoption, and impact of an intervention, delivered by community health workers, to improve adherence to recommended stomach cancer prevention guidelines for at-risk Chinese Americans. The second study evaluated the feasibility and preliminary efficacy of a culturally adapted version of the Expressive Helping intervention for Chinese American cancer patients and survivors. Our main recruitment strategies revolved around building community relationships, developing culturally sensitive materials, and establishing good first impressions with participants. Our main engagement and retention strategies focused on attending to cultural sensitivity, fostering relationships, and using technology. Harnessing the community’s inherent strengths and prioritizing cultural understanding is crucial for culturally sensitive health research with Chinese Americans.

PMID:33963414 | DOI:10.1093/tbm/ibab053