Education, trust key to participation by African-American men in tissue research

Public Health; Research

Improving understanding of the benefits of tissue research and building trust in researchers could help increase the participation of African-American men, according to new findings from the School of Medicine and the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis.

The collection of tissue specimens can advance prevention and treatment methods, but minorities are reluctant to join the studies. Researchers conducted focus groups of 70 African-American men to find out why.

Participants said a lack of information about research and an understanding of benefits for African-Americans was a common barrier.  Most said they didn’t trust the intention of researchers to fairly present their study and prioritize the well-being of subjects.

Simplification of research materials, advertisements in the community and the use of social media were suggested to increase black participation.  Recommendations from family, friends, doctors and nurses could help overcome the trust barrier.

“Diversifying the participants in these studies will require continued diligence and collaboration on the part of community and research entities,” wrote lead author Dr. Bettina Drake of the Washington University School of Medicine.  Co-authors were Dr. Sarah Gehlert and Dr. Vetta Sanders Thompson, both professors at the Brown School; and Dr. Kimberly Carter, assistant professor at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville.

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