“Recruitment and retention are critical to the success of a research study, yet are often among the most challenging aspects of a study. The Recruitment and Retention Support Unit stands ready to provide research teams with practical, evidence-based support, from proposal to post-award.”

Sara C. Folta, PhD
Director, Integrating Underrepresented Populations in Research


The Tufts CTSI Recruitment and Retention Support Unit (RSSU) provides researchers with practical, evidence-based recruitment and retention support in pre- and post-award phases of research studies. RRSU personnel work closely with investigators to devise customized, multi-modality strategies to minimize accrual time and maximize participant retention in research studies. RRSU staff provide services ranging from general consultations to targeted advertising, and collaborate closely with the Tufts CTSI Informatics team to perform targeted, technology-driven cohort discovery, and with the Integrating Underrepresented Populations in Research (IUPR) team to ensure recruitment strategies are aligned with population diversity targets.

Who is eligible?

Some RRSU services are offered at no cost to investigators and trainees at institutions affiliated with Tufts CTSI; other services are offered for a fee and are available to anyone.


  • General consultations
  • Recruitment plan development
  • Evaluation of the population burden of disease
  • Recommend best practices for integrating underrepresented populations
  • Development of externally-facing content, including advertising materials and communications
  • Management of advertising campaigns, including the use of social media

While general consultations are offered free of charge, the RRSU will work collaboratively with study personnel to assist with incorporating additional service costs, when applicable, into study budgets and providing trial sponsors with cost justification.

In addition to the services listed above, the RRSU team is available to assist research teams in evaluating recruitment and retention performance and advising on process improvement strategies to address areas of concern.

Future Initiatives

  • Development of targeted/planned enrollment tables
  • Convening of patient advisory boards to aide decisions surrounding recruitment strategy deployment.
  • Collaborating with investigators pursuant to disseminating research results to former study participants and the general public.

If there are any recruitment-related services that are not listed above, please reach out to the RSSU and we would be happy to work with you to explore solutions.


To contact us, please submit a service request.

To contact the Research Participant Advocate, please call 617-627-4255.

Sara Folta, PhD, Director, Integrating Underrepresented Populations in Research

Jonathan M. Davis, MD, Tufts CTSI Associate Director and Scientific Director, Clinical Research Operations and Innovations

Linda Hudson, ScD, MSPH, Director, Collaboration for Research Equity, Sustainability, and Trust (CREST)