Find and Recruit the Participants You Need

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Recruiting participants who are a good match for your study isn’t always easy. If you have experienced recruitment challenges, you’re not alone—a surprising number of clinical studies at OHSU never enroll a single participant. In addition to traditional advertising and outreach through clinics, there are a variety of tools and resources that can help investigators identify potential participants. We have gathered documents, tools and information to help you as you plan and implement your study. 

Explore below to learn how OCTRI Recruitment connects with research teams to ensure they have the tools and support they need for successful recruitment and retention throughout their studies. 

It can be hard to know how to best recruit for your study goals and population. OCTRI Recruitment can help! Meet with our team for a complimentary recruitment consult to discuss your recruitment needs and goals and help you create a strategy tailored to your study.  To schedule a recruitment consultation, or for questions about the resources described here, please email

OCTRI Resources 

  • Cohort discovery for count requests: A web-based tool for identifying patient cohort counts from Epic data for preparatory to research purposes, including recruitment. 

  • Research Data Warehouse: A repository of Epic data from patients and research subjects that provides access to over 2.5 million patient records and 40,000 data points.  

  • Research tools in Epic: These may be useful in recruiting patients for research studies, such as MyChart or Best Practice Advisories.  

  • Clinical Research Development Team: Experienced clinical research staff and faculty available to meet to discuss research project development, implementation, or ongoing challenges and provide overall advice regarding operations best practices, tools and connections to streamline and guide your research project.  

  • Research Volunteer Registry and Biorepository: OCTRI maintains a registry of people interested in participating in OHSU research. Investigators can request contact information for potential participants or blood, urine, stool and saliva specimens.  

  • Study coordinators: OCTRI study coordinators are experienced in traditional and innovative recruitment methods and in high demand due to their professionalism, attention to detail, resourcefulness and strong track record of successfully recruiting participants for studies. 

  • Community Outreach, Research and Engagement (CORE): OCTRI's CORE team provides community-based support in rural Oregon to facilitate community-engaged research and assist academic researchers in developing community-based partnerships. 

  • ResearchMatch: a national electronic, web-based recruitment tool connecting volunteers with researchers (learn more below). 

  • Trial Innovation Network: The Clinical and Translational Science Award program has established the Trial Innovation Network to assist investigators planning and conducting multi-site research.  

Clinical research has historically underrepresented and excluded certain populations. Individuals and groups have experienced this exclusionary behavior due to their race, ethnicity, age, sexual and/or gender identity, socio-economic status, development and disabilities, and geographic region. Our program, as a part of the NIH CTSA grant model titled “Integrating Special Populations” (ISP), works to change this.

OCTRI’s ISP team is invested in providing education and guidance to help research teams develop an inclusive and representative research plan, aligned with the demographics of the disease being studied, that is compliant with NIH policies and provides a good foundation for excellence in scientific progress. Our program has a special emphasis on inclusive research across the lifespan. Read more about the NIH policy on inclusion across the lifespan or peruse our Recruitment Resources and Guidance section below to learn more about including representative populations in research.

Additional Resources for Older Adult Inclusion

  • NCATS Inclusion of Older Adults in Research Toolkit - As a member of the NCATS Inclusion of Older Adults Working Group, OCTRI ISP helped to create this 8-part toolkit aimed at increasing the inclusion of older adults into research by equipping investigators with easily accessible training materials. Topics discussed include: reasons for and benefits of inclusion; study design and statistical analysis strategies; morbidity and medication research implications; adapting study procedures; community-engaged research; and much more.
  • NIA Recruiting Older Adults into Research (ROAR) Toolkit – A toolkit of easy-to-use, customizable materials featuring information on the importance of research for healthy aging, study information for research volunteers, and easy steps to take. The toolkit is available in English, Spanish, and Chinese.

Protocol feasibility checklist: For investigators who need to evaluate the feasibility of conducting an industry-sponsored study at OHSU

Cohort Discovery: Gain access to an online tool to query the electronic health record at OHSU. By using this drag and drop web based tool you can better understand the number of possible candidates for your research study. Note that this tool is only available to OHSU employees and training is required.

General guidance

Method-specific guidance

Using social media for participant recruitment

Electronic health record (EHR) recruitment tools: Determining which tool is best for your study-recently updated to include SlicerDicer!

Methods and best practices for recruiting in the community-recently updated to include Affiliate Research Program info!

Digital recruitment - A short video describing digital strategies for research recruitment 

Developing Inclusive and Representative Research Populations (Jul. 13, 2022)

Diversity in Recruitment: Including Underrepresented Groups in Research (Jan. 22, 2020)

Social Media and Subject Recruitment: How to make it work for you (Feb. 28, 2019) 

Including Older Adults in Research - Implementing the NIH Lifespan Policy & Recruitment Strategies (Feb. 5, 2019) 

2018 Recruitment Survey Results and OCTRI Recruitment Toolkit Launch (Jan. 24, 2019) 

logo for the Research Match website:

ResearchMatch is a national project developed by institutions affiliated with the NIH Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) and facilitated at OHSU by OCTRI. To use ResearchMatch to recruit participants, researchers can sign up for Feasibility Access to see aggregate data within the registry population or Recruitment Access to identify volunteers who are a good match for their study. Recruitment Access requires IRB approval. You can register as an investigator, read the Researcher FAQ, or contact the OCTRI Navigator to learn more. 

ResearchMatch resources: 

Learn more at, or contact your local ResearchMatch liaisons at

Additional resources

Browse these tools and documents as you develop your recruitment strategy and begin recruiting participants. 

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Have questions or want to request a consultation? 

Contact OCTRI Recruitment 

(503) 346-0811

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Gender Affirming Practices in Clinical Research 

Brought to you in collaboration with OHSU's Transgender Health Program, this document provides tips for study staff on gender affirming and trauma informed practices within research.  

Check out the document here. 

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Are you interested in participating in a research study?

Browse the OHSU Study Participation Opportunities website or contact OCTRI to help you connect with open research opportunities!