Participant Recruitment Center

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The ACTRI Participant Recruitment Center has a variety of tools and services available to help you achieve your participant recruitment goals. From community engagement consultation to novel informatics platforms that consider participant preferences, these tools can be customized to help you reach your target population. This center is a collaboration of the ACTRI Community Engagement (CE) and Biomedical Informatics (BMI) units.

The following Tools can be customized to the needs of the study and the population being evaluated:


The Community Engagement staff can help you improve research designs and write competitive proposals.

Consultation and Facilitated IntroductionA service that supports community engagement in clinical research, helps strengthen the link between researchers and the community, and helps investigators develop strategies for recruitment exploring recruitment options and strategies with a Participant Recruitment Center representative, sometimes leading to facilitated community interactions.  This service is most helpful in the pre-funding, research-planning phase, but is available at all phases of research.

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ResearchMatch A nationwide, web-based, human subject recruitment registry sponsored by the NIH. Volunteers in this registry have indicated a willingness to learn more about research studies. ResearchMatch aims to be an effective, useful and complementary recruitment tool that connects researchers with appropriate potential subjects. ResearchMatch is not just for clinical trials. It is available at no cost, to help match any type of IRB-approved study with potential participants.

Rural and Hispanic PopulationsMany rural areas of San Diego, Imperial, and Riverside Counties have high rates of health problems, populations previously untapped for research, and clinical partners interested in collaborating with ACTRI investigators. Exploration of these resources is available through consultation with Participant Recruitment Center staff. This service is most helpful in the pre-funding, research-planning phase, but is available at all phases of research.

Social Media —Internet and social media are increasingly utilized to reach potential participants for clinical trials. Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, and portals such as Google, have been demonstrated to be helpful in cost-effectively recruiting human subjects through targeted advertising. Some fee-for-service clinical trial recruitment companies (e.g., TrialSpark) specialize in using data-driven tools for recruitment and have helped investigators reach populations that are typically difficult to reach (e.g., specific demographics such as location and age). For example, TrialSpark will build web landing pages, facilitate participant feedback and engagement, manage social media ad campaigns, and offer data management and analytics. To further explore this strategy for your study, please email

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UC Research eXchange (UC ReX) tool A secure web-based system that accesses counts from 14-plus million patient records across the University of California’s five medical centers and allows authorized UC researchers, clinicians and administrators to access patient counts for research, clinical quality improvement and administrative inquiries.

Accrual to Clinical Trials (ACT) NetworkComing Soon The ACT Network, funded by the Clinical and Translational Science Awards program, is a nationwide network of sites that share EHR data to significantly increase participant accrual to the nation’s highest priority clinical trials. UC San Diego is a participating site.

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Patient-centered SCAlable National Network for Effectiveness Research (pSCANNER) –  A network that enables a sustainable national research infrastructure, making health data more accessible and usable for the generation of scientific evidence that patients, clinicians and other stakeholders together use to make more informed health decisions. pSCANNER integrates data from existing networks and surrounding health systems covering over 24 million patients.

Data Extracts from Structured Information (DESI) in electronic health records – A service that identifies patients and extracts identified, de-identified, or limited patient-level datasets from electronic medical records according to IRB approval for clinical research projects. For more information email

Planned for later this year:

Off-campus Research Clinics – ACTRI’s Participant Research Center has begun offering research clinical sites that can attract potential research participants who cannot easily travel to UC San Diego campuses to participate in research. This is appropriate for a growing percentage of research protocols. Research personnel can travel to these remote sites to interact with human subjects, and/or utilize telemedicine equipment to foster remote interactions between research participants and an investigator team. Since the San Diego Blood Bank is a major partner, often Registered Nurses familiar with phlebotomy, following strict protocols and specimen handling, are available off-site. An association with the Eisenhower Medical Center (outside Palm Springs) offers another set of assets. For more information email