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Am J Public Health. 2004 Jun;94(6):918-22.

Ethics in public health research: protecting human subjects: the role of community advisory boards.

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  • 1Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh, 230 Parran Hall, 130 Desoto Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15261, USA.


Increasingly, researchers grapple with meaningful efforts to involve communities in research, recognizing that communities are distinct from individuals. We also struggle to ensure that individual participants in research are fully protected. Community advisory boards (CABs) offer an opportunity to adopt a relationships paradigm that enables researchers to anticipate and address the context in which communities understand risks and benefits, and individuals give consent. CABs provide a mechanism for community consultation that contributes to protecting communities and fostering meaningful research. Furthermore, CABs can help us to re-create informed consent as a process. It is critical that we conduct research to understand the role of CABs in the informed consent process.

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