Reservations to Participate in Biospecimen Research among Pacific Islanders
Background and Significance: Despite high rates of chronic diseases like cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease, Pacific Islanders (PIs) are underrepresented in clinical and genetic studies designed to identify the physiological causes of poor health outcomes. There are limited genetic data and biospecimen samples from PIs under study. This paper described why PIs have reservations about donating their biospecimen samples for research. Methods: Data were drawn from a pilot study designed to assess the knowledge, attitudes and beliefs surrounding biospecimen research among PIs in southern California. Utilizing a community-based participatory research approach, community and academic partners collected quantitative and qualitative data from a total of 60 PI adults with a mean age of 61 years (SD 13 years). Results: “Fear”, “God or Spirituality” and “Lack of Information or Knowledge” were the most cited reasons for not participating in biospecimen research. Respondents younger than age 65 years expressed more concerns about donating their biospecimen samples than those older than age 65 years (p<0.012). No significant gender differences were found (p=0.84). Conclusion: Our results emphasize the need to conduct relevant and appropriate biospecimen education among minority communities in order to address misconceptions and build support to increase PI and other minority participation in biospecimen-related studies.