The Big Tent

CTSI 2016 NIH Renewal Proposal Launchpad

An initiative to expand CTSI Study Recruitment in the East Bay

Primary Author: David Durand
Proposal Status: 

The pace and efficiency of recruitment of participants into a study is typically the limiting factor for how quickly a clinical trial can be completed.  Maximizing the efficiency and scale of recruitment for a study means the study can be completed sooner, use fewer resources, and/or increase the study’s sample size, and therefore its utility to science.

The CTSI’s Participant Recruitment and Study Management Services (SRS) program aims to assist UCSF investigators with study recruitment, screening, and enrollment of participants into USCF clinical research services, as well as provide tools, education and outreach related to the recruitment of research participants. Despite these resources, recruitment in San Francisco can be especially challenging. In particular, there is simply a limited pool of children living in San Francisco for pediatric studies, as well as a limited pool of African Americans of all ages.

Fortunately there a population of more than 2 million individuals in the East Bay which, for the most part, has not been tapped for UCSF-based clinical trials. However, few investigators are familiar with how to access these communities, and in any case, the time and inconvenience of going into the city likely prevents the eager participation of most individuals outside of San Francisco.

The CTSI satellites sites at Children’s Hospital Oakland and Kaiser Permanente in Oakland have been utilized primarily by investigators based at those institutions. Very recently, there have been efforts to expand recruitment into the East Bay for trials originating with UCSF investigators, as well as hosting study visits at that locations. The positive impact on recruitment from these locations cannot be understated and has resulted in additional funding for UCSF.

CTSI’s goal with the renewal launch pad is “to involve the broadest community possible of UCSF faculty, affiliate organizations, community partners, etc. to help identify and plan activities that will substantially improve translational research at UCSF, regionally and nationally.”

The proposed initiative would serve to significantly strengthen translational research based at UCSF by facilitating the ability of investigators of clinical trials to outreach and enroll a “new” population of diverse children and adults, and to conduct study visits in the East Bay.  

Potential partners include CTSI SRS program, CTSI Community Engagement Program, Children’s Hospital & Research Center Oakland, Gallo Center, Kaiser Permanente, the Center for Information and Study on Research Participation (CISCRP), and the OmniScience Mobile. A planning grant would allow interested parties to develop these basic ideas into practical strategies. Over time a recognition among investigators to "think outside of SF" would become normalized. 

 Successful implementation of the proposed initiative in the next CTSI cycle has enormous potential to improve study efficiency, reduce costs, and increase sample size of scores of CTSI studies, as well as improve the competitiveness of future grant proposals.

A large scale, coordinated and strategic effort to expand the CTSI recruitment catchment area, particularly if successful (as early attempts have indicated it should be) could influence similar efforts at other CTSA sites and for research centers in general. 


Recognition of the important populations in the East Bay is critical for research to address disparities among African Americans.  Successful engagement there can build on the longstanding relationships established by UCSF researchers such as the Faith-based and Alameda-County Hlth Dept based program of the UCSF Cancer Center. 

San Francisco Bay Area Collaborative Research Network (SF Bay CRN) is CTSI's primary health care practice based research network ( ).  Our membership includes dozens of primary care practices and health centers in Alameda and Contra Costa counties, and extends into the Central Valley, as well.  Members of our steering committee include individuals located in East Bay health systems, such as Kaiser, Children's Hospital, Hill Physicians, Sutter Health, and a variety of FHQC community health centers.  While we have facilitated many practice-based research projects involving East Bay healthcare settings, our capacity to aid in these activities could certainly be expanded, and we would certainly welcome any new partnerships with the groups putting this proposal forward that might lead to greater use of our network for translational research in primary health care. 

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