“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
  • Development of recruitment plans
  • Recommend best practices for integrating underrepresented populations
  • Development of advertising materials
  • Initial submission of recruitment materials to the IRB
  • Submission of recruitment-related amendments to the IRB
  • Management of advertising campaigns, including the use of social media for recruitment

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

  • Patient advisory boards to aide decisions surrounding recruitment strategy deployment.
  • Collaboration with investigators and study sponsors pursuant to the dissemination of research results back to the participant population.

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.

News and Events


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 Director, Multi-site Clinical Research Center

Linda Hudson, ScD, MSPH, Associate Director, Integrating Underrepresented Populations in Research

Timothy Bilodeau, MBA, Program Administrative Director, Multi-site Clinical Research Center