Public Health Genomics. 2013 Nov 6. [Epub ahead of print]
Perceptions of African-American Health Professionals and Community Members on the Participation of Children and Pregnant Women in Genetic Research.
Department of Community and Behavioral Health Promotion, Joseph J. Zilber School of Public Health, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee, Wis., USA.
Background: As genetic research gains more prominence in society, ethical concerns and the need for safeguards in the participation of children and pregnant women have increased. This study examined the perspectives of African-American health professional and community members on genetic research involving children and pregnant women. Methods: We used a mixed-methods approach to collect and analyze survey data and qualitative data from focus groups of community members and structured interviews of health professionals. Results: We found that community members had significantly more favorable attitudes toward participation of children and pregnant women in genetic research than health professionals. Health professionals did not differ significantly from community members in their perceived understanding of genetic research. Emergent themes included limited knowledge of genetic research and distinction of biomedical research and clinical care, ethical concerns about confidentiality and potential harm, and the need to protect children and pregnant women. Participants expressed high interest and favorable attitude towards genetic research, despite limited genetic knowledge and concerns of potential harm to children and pregnant women. Some participants felt that genetic research findings could help dispel stigma and reduce discrimination, especially in mental illness. Conclusion: Findings suggest that the recruitment of participants into genetic research should directly address privacy and benefit concerns, and limited knowledge of physical and mental illness genetic research. There is a critical need to invest and engage racial/ethnic communities early, provide education on genetics, mental illness, and translate and share research findings with these communities. © 2013 S. Karger AG, Basel.
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