AIMS: This paper examines the importance of recruitment site in relation to the recruitment of ethnic minorities into health research. It presents a synthesis of experiences drawn from six interlinked Danish studies which applied different methods and used healthcare facilities and educational settings as sites for recruitment. METHODS: Inspired by interpretive reviewing, data on recruitment methods from the different studies were synthesized with a focus on the various levels of recruitment success achieved. This involved an iterative process of comparison, analysis and discussion of experiences among the researchers involved. RESULTS: Success in recruitment seemed to depend partly on recruitment site. Using healthcare facilities as the recruitment site and healthcare professionals as gatekeepers was less efficient than using schools and employees from educational institutions. Successful study designs also depended on the possibility of singling out specific locations with a high proportion of the relevant ethnic minority target population. CONCLUSIONS: The findings, though based on a small number of cases, indicate that health professionals and healthcare institutions, despite their interest in high-quality health research into all population groups, fail to facilitate research access to some of the most disadvantaged groups, who need to be included in order to understand the mechanisms behind health disparities. This happens despite the genuine wish of many healthcare professionals to help facilitate such research. In this way, the findings indirectly emphasize the specific challenge of accessing more vulnerable and sick groups in research studies.