The CCTS is pleased to congratulate our newest Gold STAR winners, Pankaj Arora, MD, Nehal Vekariya, MS, Naman Shetty, MD, Nirav Patel, MD, and Vibhu Parcha, MD. Study coordinator Nehal Vekariya shares the strategies behind their recruitment and retention success.

What factors or strategies have made your team successful in patient recruitment?

We have used a community-based recruitment approach. We visit churches, public libraries and participate in community events. We are using multiple recruitment resources like the UAB Reporter, fliers around UAB Hospital, VA Clinic, UAB Highlands, UAB Campus, Recreational Center, Community places - library, recreational centers, churches, etc. We have seen that word of mouth has benefited our study recruitment.

How have you approached retention efforts?

We engage our participants by attending all the visits. Our participants come over the weekend for the visits, and it is sometimes difficult for them to get parking. We assist them with navigating the parking and make them comfortable with the study and the team. We do frequent calls to check on them and listen to any concerns they may have. We have had a few participants who enrolled in the study because of a family history of heart disease, etc. They like to tell stories and the fun activities they do! Listening to the participants makes them feel valued, and it helps with retention.

How did you design your strategy to create the groundwork for your success? How did the tools provided by the CRSP team help in your planning?

Our clinical research coordinators have experience in community-based research, which helped our team to develop recruitment strategies. We always talk about how we can improve recruitment for all our studies. With the new recruitment tools - the Feasibility Assessment Form and the UAB Recruitment and Retention worksheets, help us foresee the recruitment challenges with which we can increase the recruitment effort to the resource that gives us the most benefit. Our team also attends the CCTS lunch and learn sessions which give us ideas on study recruitment and retention.

How does your team celebrate success together? Our team meets once a week. During these meetings, we discuss milestones, challenges and how to reduce participant burden. Our lab also meets outside work hours to celebrate both professional and personal achievements.

The Clinical Research Support Program team will launch the next round of the Gold STAR Awards ahead of the next CCTS Lunch and Learn, which is scheduled for April 11th from 11:30am-1pm. Email your completed Feasibility AND Recruitment & Retention worksheets to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by April 1, 2023. In your entry email, please include your team member names, Department, PI, accrual goal, and number of participants enrolled to date. Only one entry allowed per team.

Questions about the Recruitment and Retention Worksheet or the other Clinical Research Support Program offerings mentioned? Visit the Clinical Trials Kiosk or reach out via email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..