New Perspectives on Recruitment and Retention

Clinical Researcher—August 2018 (Volume 32, Issue 7)


Gary W. Cramer




It hasn’t been so very long since the last time an issue of Clinical Researcher focused on the challenges of recruiting and retaining participants in clinical trials. For reasons that are all too obvious to belabor here, as themes go, it’s right up there in popularity with our occasional issues devoted to regulatory matters and career development tactics.

Each of our three main articles in this issue deal with the “R&R” theme directly or tangentially, though each came about in a starkly different way:

  • Stephanie Williams’ peer-reviewed article is an outgrowth of her earlier presentation on the same topic at the ACRP 2018 meeting in late April. We encourage speakers at our annual gatherings to consider adapting their work into articles so that more people may benefit from their expertise. We also invite those of you who have proposed presentations that were not selected for recent conferences (ACRP or otherwise) to think of this journal as an option for reaching your audience. Look for the “Submit an Article” details at or feel free to contact me at the e-mail address below.
  • The peer-reviewed contribution from Karen Lane, et al., arrived for review “out of the blue,” as many of our articles and columns do, and it represents a trend that sees ACRP publishing more articles about “lessons learned” from major real-world trials. We are pleased to consider submissions from solo authors, pairings of experts, or entire teams on any relevant clinical research topics at any time of the year. With 10 issues per year to fill in our recently launched all-digital format, we can surely find a place for any article that is accepted through our peer-review process, even if it’s as a “miscellaneous” article in an issue otherwise already planned to be themed on some other topic. (However, in the case of this issue, it was the serendipitous arrival of several articles on similar topics that generated the theme.)
  • The wisdom on the qualities to look for and nourish in great clinical research coordinators (CRCs) received from Cyenthia Willis, et al., in our special feature provides welcome insights from the Veterans Health Administration. This was another article that came somewhat unexpectedly, and like more such features that we have been publishing lately, it did not go through peer review, but was considered of significant value to include here. It is especially appropriate for this issue, as the responsibility for subject recruitment and retention falls frequently on the CRC(s) at a site, whether or not they are fully prepared for such duties.

Here, There, Everywhere

I’ll leave you with the following links to a handful of other articles to check out on this ever-evolving and ever-important aspect of clinical trials—some from the ACRP Blog and others from the “outside world.” It goes to show just how big the well of topics tied to R&R is once you begin to tap into it. In the meantime, we look forward to your feedback on how Clinical Researcher is doing so far in its new format, and as always, we welcome your ideas for articles to educate and enlighten your colleagues in the clinical research enterprise.

Arbitrary Age Parameters Can Limit Clinical Trial Efficacy (ACRP Blog 8/1/18)

NIH Makes Advancements in Precision Medicine Initiative Patient Recruitment (ACRP Blog 7/23/18)

Successful Patient Recruitment Hinges on Flexible Travel Offerings (ACRP Blog 7/2/18)

Orphan Indications and Clinical Trials—Recruiting (Clinical Leader 8/9/18)

Running Engaging Digital Enrollment Campaigns (Applied Clinical Trials 8/8/18)

Finding Patients Close to Home: A New Way of Recruiting for Clinical Trials (CURE 7/30/18)

Gary W. Cramer ( is Managing Editor for ACRP.

Back to Clinical Researcher