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Am J Med Genet A. 2012 May;158A(5):1029-37. doi: 10.1002/ajmg.a.34414. Epub 2012 Mar 21.

Biobank participation and returning research results: perspectives from a deliberative engagement in South Side Chicago.

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  • 1Institute for Health and Society, Center for Bioethics and Medical Humanities, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53226, USA.


To be respectful of the public, biobank guiding principles and operations should be responsive to and inclusive of the values and beliefs of their participants. In an effort to increase knowledge and inform institutional policies, we conducted a deliberative engagement of individuals from two healthcare facilities in South Side Chicago that serve different socioeconomic communities to consider biobank policies regarding return of research results. We recruited primary caregivers of children receiving care at either a Federally Qualified Health Center or a university-based practice to attend two full-day deliberative engagement sessions, which included four educational presentations followed by focus group discussions. Surveys were administered to assess attitudes before and after the engagement, and an evaluation was conducted to assess the deliberative engagement process. All 45 participants self-identified as African-American. Focus group themes included: (1) overall interest in biobank participation, broad consent, and recontact; (2) root causes of distrust and potential biobank strategies to facilitate trust; (3) perceived positive and negative aspects of receiving research results; and (4) strong interest in receiving and managing their children's research results. Survey data indicated the same degree of interest in receiving results about themselves as about their children. Pre- and post-session findings showed mainly non-significant attitudinal changes in level of interest in biobank participation and return of research results, although there was a decrease in level of concern regarding identification from research data. Our findings reveal shared community insights important in facilitating relationships and policy discussions between biobank researchers and research participants.

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