Journal of Cancer Education

, Volume 30, Issue 1, pp 108–115

Strategies for Enrollment of African Americans into Cancer Genetic Studies

  • Altovise Ewing
  • Nicole Thompson
  • Luisel Ricks-Santi


The enrollment of ethnically diverse populations in genetic and genomic research is vital to the parity of benefits resulting from research with biological specimens. Herein, we discuss strategies that may effectively improve the recruitment of African Americans into genetics studies. Specifically, we show that engaging physicians, genetic counselors, and community members is essential to enrolling participants into genetic studies. We demonstrate the impact of utilizing African American genetic counselors on study enrollment rates and implementing a two-page consent form that improved on a lengthy and inefficient consenting process. Lastly, we provided participants with the option of donating saliva instead of blood for study purposes. Descriptive statistics were used. Using the aforementioned strategies, recruitment goals for the Genetic Basis of Breast Cancer Subtype Study at Howard University (HU) were met. Our overall results yielded 182 participants in 18 months. Recruitment strategies that involve the engagement of physicians, genetic counselors, and community members may help researchers increase the enrollment of ethnically diverse and hard-to-reach participants into genetic studies.


African Americans Genetic counseling Cancer genetic research Research strategies 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Altovise Ewing
    • 1
  • Nicole Thompson
    • 2
  • Luisel Ricks-Santi
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Health, Behavior and SocietyThe Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public HealthBaltimoreUSA
  2. 2.Cancer Genetics Program, Howard University Cancer CenterHoward University HospitalWashingtonUSA
  3. 3.Cancer Research CenterHampton UniversityHamptonUSA

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