Researchers explore retention of minorities in TBI Model System Study of race/ethnicity

Researchers analyzed data from the Traumatic Brain Injury Model System National Data and Statistical Center (TBIMSDSC) to study the contribution of race and ethnicity to retention of participants in TBI research. Their article: Sander A, Lequerica AH, Ketchum JM, Hammond FM, Williams Gary K, Pappadis MR, ER Felix, D Johnson-Greene, T Bushnik: Race/Ethnicity and Retention in Traumatic Brain Injury Outcomes Research: A Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems National Database Study was published ahead of print by the Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation on July 1.

A national team of investigators looked at TBIMSDSC data for 7685 individuals who self-identified as white, black, or Hispanic. Among this group of 5548 whites, 1347 blacks and 790 Hispanics, researchers found that the retention rate at one to two years post-injury for Hispanics (85.2%) was lower than the rates for blacks (90.5%) or whites (98.5%). Other variables adversely affecting retention included substance abuse, age, lower education level, violent cause of injury, and discharge to an institution vs a private residence.

“These findings illustrate the pitfalls associated with grouping different minorities when looking at retention rates in TBI research,” noted co-author Anthony H. Lequerica, Ph.D., senior research scientist at Kessler Foundation and a co-investigator with the Northern New Jersey TBI Model System. “The validity of our research depends upon the participation of individuals of all races and ethnicities,” he said. “Clearly, race/ethnicity is important to consider when developing strategies for retaining participants in our longitudinal rehabilitation research. We need to develop retention strategies that engage Hispanic individuals, and continue to monitor their ongoing participation.”

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