Recruitment for the WHI began in 1993 and ended in 1998 and was conducted by 40 Clinical Centers in 24 states and the District of Columbia. Enrollment of racial/ethnic minority groups proportionate to the total minority population of women between 50 and 79 years of age was a high priority of the WHI. At the end of the recruitment period, 161,808 women had joined the WHI, with about 17% representing racial/ethnic minority groups.
Recruitment efforts occurred on a local level at the Clinical Centers and on a national level at the National Institutes of Health, the Clinical Coordinating Center, and various study-wide committees. Most Clinical Centers used multiple recruitment strategies, with mass mailings being the primary method of identifying potential participants for screening. Mailings were supplemented by other strategies that varied from site to site, including: community presentations, local newspaper ads and articles, public service announcements (TV and radio), and health fairs.
National activities included centrally produced recruitment and screening materials, central workshops and support for local recruitment staff, a national public awareness campaign, a toll-free recruitment telephone line, and input from advisory groups with expertise in select areas. Recruitment progress was monitored centrally and locally throughout the recruitment period.
Recruitment materials included the WHI logo, the study colors, the toll-free telephone number, and the study catch phrase (“Be part of the answer”) to enhance visibility and identification with the study. Most printed materials could be customized and supplemented with local information. Spanish versions of all recruitment materials were available.
Hays J, Hunt J, Hubbell A, Anderson G, Limacher M, Allen C, Rossouw J. The WHI Recruitment Methods and Results. Ann Epidemiol 2003;13:S18-S77.