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

Anthony Lequerica

Lower retention rate for Hispanics indicates need for targeted retention strategies for longitudinal rehabilitation research in traumatic brain injury

East Hanover, NJ – August 22, 2018 –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 (doi: 10.1097/HTR.0000000000000395) was published ahead of print by the Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation on July 1.

A national team of investigators looked at TBIMS 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, PhD, 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.”

The scientists acknowledged the need for prospective studies, and the importance of addressing the impact of the spectrum of environmental and socio-economic factors and their complex interactions with race and ethnicity.  

Article link: https://insights.ovid.com/pubmed?pmid=29863614

Funded by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (90DPTB0016, 90DP0028, 90DP0060, and 90RT5007, 90DP0032, 90DP0034 and 90DP0084, 90DP0036, 90DP0046, 90DP0047, and 90DP0033; the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (R24HS022134); National Institute on Aging (5P30-AG024832); National Institutes of Health Translational Science Award (UL1RR029876), and the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (contract number L60 MD009326).

About the TBI Model System

The Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems (TBIMS) program, sponsored by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) , Administration for Community Living, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, supports innovative projects and research in the delivery, demonstration, and evaluation of medical, rehabilitation, vocational, and other services designed to meet the needs of individuals with traumatic brain injury. NIDILRR awards TBI Model Systems grants to institutions that are national leaders in medical research and patient care; these institutions provide the highest level of comprehensive specialty services from the point of injury through eventual re-entry into full community life. The current grant cycle supports 15 regional TBI Model Systems across the U.S. Each TBI Model System contributes to the Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems National Data and Statistical Center (TBINDSC), participates in independent and collaborative research, and provides information and resources to individuals with TBI; their families, caregivers, and friends; health care professionals; and the general public. Nancy Chiaravalloti, PhD, is the project director of the Northern New Jersey TBI Model System at Kessler Foundation.

About Kessler Foundation

Kessler Foundation, a major nonprofit organization in the field of disability, is a global leader in rehabilitation research that seeks to improve cognition, mobility and long-term outcomes, including employment, for people with neurological disabilities caused by diseases and injuries of the brain and spinal cord. Kessler Foundation leads the nation in funding innovative programs that expand opportunities for employment for people with disabilities. Learn more by visiting http://www.KesslerFoundation.org.

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Contacts

Carolann Murphy, PA; 973-324-8382; CMurphy@KesslerFoundation.org