Journal of Community Genetics

, Volume 3, Issue 4, pp 275–283

Engaging African-Americans about biobanks and the return of research results

Original Article


We conducted a deliberative engagement to assess attitudinal changes regarding biobank research, governance, and the return of results. We recruited African-Americans from two Southside Chicago health care facilities that serve communities of very different socioeconomic and educational backgrounds in order to examine similarities and differences within the African-American population. We used a mixed method, deliberative engagement process involving a convenience sample of parents recruited from a Federally Qualified Health Clinic (FQHC) [n = 23] and a university-based practice (UBP) [n = 22]. Four coding categories illustrate similarities and differences between participants from the two different practices: (1) reasons for and against participation; (2) trust and mistrust; (3) return of research results; and (4) religion. Overall, there was strong interest in receiving results, which was a main motivator for participation. While participants from both health care facilities expressed distrust of research, UBP participants also expressed trust in the research enterprise. FQHC participants more frequently mentioned religion. Studies about participation in biobanks often focus on participants’ race as the sole significant variable, while our work supports the importance of other demographic factors. Medical researchers must move beyond research analyses that consider the African-American population to be monolithic and value the diversity within it.


Socioeconomic status Religion African-Americans Biobanks Genetic research Return of results 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of ChicagoChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Department of PediatricsUniversity of ChicagoChicagoUSA

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