We aimed to describe 17 months of experience with household recruitment of live births for the National Children's Study in Queens, a highly urban, diverse borough of New York City (NYC), and to assess predictors of recruitment success.
Recruitment data (enumeration, pregnancy screening of age-eligible women, identification of pregnancies, and consent) for the period of January 2009 through May 2010 were calculated. Geographic information systems were used to create 11 community-level variables for each of the 18 study segments where recruitment occurred, using US Census, NYC Office of Vital Statistics, NYC Department of City Planning, and NYC Police Department data. Recruitment yields were analyzed with respect to these variables at the segment level.
Enumeration identified 4889 eligible women, of whom 4333 (88.6%) completed the pregnancy screener. At least 115 births were lost because of an inability of the pregnancy screener to identify pregnant women, whereas another 115 could be expected to be lost because of missed enumerations and pregnancy screeners. The consent rate was 60.3%. Segments with higher percentages of low birth weight had higher enumeration, pregnancy screening, and consent rates.
In a highly immigrant, urban setting, households could be approached for recruitment of women to participate in the National Children's Study with consent rates equal to those experienced in clinical settings. Refinement of the pregnancy screener and other recruitment materials presents an opportunity to optimize recruitment, improve the representativeness of study participants, and improve the cost-effectiveness of study execution.