Demographic and Socioeconomic Factors in Prospective Retina-Focused Clinical Trial Screening and Enrollment

Jessica A. Cao, Sagar B. Patel, Calvin W. Wong, David Garcia, Jose Munoz, Cassandra Cone, Deneva Zamora, Mary Reagan, Tieu V. Nguyen, Will Pearce, Richard H. Fish, David M. Brown, Varun Chaudhary, Charles C. Wykoff, Kenneth C. Fan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Historically marginalized populations are disproportionately affected by many diseases that commonly affect the retina, yet they have been traditionally underrepresented in prospective clinical trials. This study explores whether this disparity affects the clinical trial enrollment process in the retina field and aims to inform future trial recruitment and enrollment. Age, gender, race, ethnicity, preferred language, insurance status, social security number (SSN) status, and median household income (estimated using street address and zip code) for patients referred to at least one prospective, retina-focused clinical trial at a large, urban, retina-based practice were retrospectively extracted using electronic medical records. Data were collected for the 12-month period from 1 January 2022, through 31 December 2022. Recruitment status was categorized as Enrolled, Declined, Communication (defined as patients who were not contacted, were contacted with no response, were waiting for a follow-up, or were scheduled for screening following a clinical trial referral.), and Did Not Qualify (DNQ). Univariable and multivariable analyses were used to determine significant relationships between the Enrolled and Declined groups. Among the 1477 patients, the mean age was 68.5 years old, 647 (43.9%) were male, 900 (61.7%) were White, 139 (9.5%) were Black, and 275 (18.7%) were Hispanic. The distribution of recruitment status was: 635 (43.0%) Enrolled, 232 (15.7%) Declined, 290 (19.6%) Communication, and 320 (21.7%) DNQ. In comparing socioeconomic factors between the Enrolled and Declined groups, significant odds ratios were observed for age (p < 0.02, odds ratio (OR) = 0.98, 95% confidence interval (CI) [0.97, 1.00]), and between patients who preferred English versus Spanish (p = 0.004, OR = 0.35, 95% CI [0.17, 0.72]. Significant differences between the Enrolled and Declined groups were also observed for age (p < 0.05), ethnicity (p = 0.01), preferred language (p < 0.05), insurance status (p = 0.001), and SSN status (p < 0.001). These factors may contribute to patient participation in retina-focused clinical trials. An awareness of these demographic and socioeconomic disparities may be valuable to consider when attempting to make clinical trial enrollment an equitable process for all patients, and strategies may be useful to help address these challenges.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number880
JournalJournal of Personalized Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - May 23 2023


  • demographic
  • retina-focused clinical trial
  • socioeconomic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


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