Special communication| Volume 94, ISSUE 6, P1190-1198, June 2013

Conducting Intervention Research Among Underserved Populations: Lessons Learned and Recommendations for Researchers

Published:December 26, 2012DOI:


      Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) are considered the criterion standard in research design for establishing treatment efficacy. However, the rigorous and highly controlled conditions of RCTs can be difficult to attain when conducting research among individuals living with a confluence of disability, low socioeconomic status, and being a member of a racial/ethnic minority group, who may be more likely to have unstable life circumstances. Research on effective interventions for these groups is urgently needed, because evidence regarding approaches to reduce health disparities and improve health outcomes is lacking. In this methodologic article, we discuss the challenges and lessons learned in implementing the Lifestyle Redesign for Pressure Ulcer Prevention in Spinal Cord Injury study among a highly disadvantaged population. These issues are discussed in terms of strategies to enhance recruitment, retention, and intervention relevance to the target population. Recommendations for researchers seeking to conduct RCTs among socioeconomically disadvantaged, ethnically diverse populations are provided.


      List of abbreviations:

      LR-PUP (Lifestyle Redesign for Pressure Ulcer Prevention in Spinal Cord Injury), PUPP (Pressure Ulcer Prevention Project), RCT (randomized controlled trial), SCI (spinal cord injury), SES (socioeconomic status)
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