Integrating Special Populations

Despite national and local mandates to include special populations in federally funded research, children, seniors, and racial and ethnic minorities continue to have limited participation in clinical and translational research (CTR). South Carolina, a largely rural state, has a significant percentage of racial and ethnic minorities, a higher prevalence of chronic disease, and worse health outcomes than most of the nation. As a service housed under the SUCCESS Center, the Integrating Special Populations (ISP) program aims to help ensure that all MUSC studies are recruiting participants who are representative of our community, so that our findings are generalizable and may benefit all residents of our state.


Our free consultations assist with defining and recruiting special populations for inclusion in translational research and other types of studies involving humans. The Special Populations navigators also offer methods for identifying community-based organizations and stakeholders that can facilitate access to special populations. We offer the following consultations:

  • Planning/Recruitment Consultation: A consultant helps research teams tailor a strategy for accessing special populations (e.g., developing recruitment plans, providing community gatekeeper contacts). 
  • Participant Engagement Group (PEG): A PEG is a facilitated focus group with non-research stakeholders (e.g., anticipated target populations, caregivers, community members) designed for investigators in the early stages of protocol development. PEGs provide investigators feedback that enhances the design, implementation, and dissemination of their research projects.

To request a consultation, visit SPARCRequest and select "Special Populations Navigation" under the SCTR SUCCESS Center category of the Service Category. Please contact the SUCCESS Center at 843-792-8300 for questions or assistance.

Translation and Interpreter Services for Research

Despite there being a large and growing population of non-English speakers in the United States, these individuals are often excluded from research. This underrepresentation raises questions about the generalization of research conclusions across all segments of society, and works against important ethical principles related to access and justice. Offering and utilizing interpreter and translation services with cultural humility allows for greater diversity and more equitably shares the benefits of research, ultimately improving the care of all patients.

Free consultations on how to best to incorporate non-English speakers and translation and interpretation services in a research study can be provided by the SUCCESS Center. See request instructions listed above.

Planning for Translation and Interpretation Needs


Inclusion of non-English speakers needs to be included in the study's IRB approved study documents. Investigators must adhere to local IRB policy, specifically:

  • MUSC HRPP6.1 – Informed Consent to Participate in Research Policy and Procedures

  • MUSC HRPP 7.5 – Research Involving Non-English Speaking Subjects

  • MUSC forms and guidance, which includes:

    • IRB’s Short Form Consent Template (available in English in Spanish) and accompanying addendum

    • IRB’s Guidance for Short Form Consent which offers specific guidance when enrolling non-English speaking participants

    • Certificate of Translation documents


Translation and interpretation must be conducted by a certified service or credentialed individual. Depending on the unique protocol needs and the composition of the study team, investigators may choose to have an IRB approved study team member or an approved external vendor serve in the role of translator or interpreter.

Translation and interpretation services will need to be budgeted for accordingly at the protocol level. Investigators can review approved vendors and their price lists on the state procurement website and should work with their business manager and MUSC procurement to establish a contract.

For contacts in University Procurement and information on state approved vendors visit the Horseshoe




Kimberly Brown
Kimberly Brown
Special Populations Coordinator