Native American Participation in Biospecimen Cancer Research Studied

Monday, July 18, 2016

Biomedical research in culturally distinct communities is often a challenge. A paper led by Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center researchers and published online ahead of print in the Journal of Cancer Education offered some strategies to improve clinical trial recruitment and participation in biospecimen collection for cancer research among Native Americans. 

“This research focused on the voices, insights, experiences and perceptions of urban Native American communities that will improve recruitment for cancer and other health-related clinical trials,” says Rodney Haring, PhD, MSW, assistant professor of oncology in the Office of Cancer Health Disparities Research at Roswell Park. “The responses from the Native communities provide useful information for building respectful partnerships and successful clinical trial recruitment that will move science forward.” An enrolled member of the Seneca Nation, Dr. Haring also serves as a tribal delegate on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Research Advisory Council. 

Participants included off-reservation Native American members from various tribal nations of the Haudenosaunee who reside in the Northeastern areas of New York State. Scientists found that building a rapport between the researchers and the governing bodies of tribes or Native urban centers was essential. Recruitment resources should include lay language, information about the length of the study, commitment, and the rationale of the research. Culturally appropriate recruitment materials should include imagery and tribal languages. Participants also were interested in a summary sheet of information. Important perspectives on biospecimen research were also shared by Maori (New Zealand) and Native Hawaiian authors.

“It is crucial that Native Nations contribute to science in a way that honors their sovereignty and benefits future generations with a goal to reduce health disparities,” adds Dr. Haring.

Media Contact: 

Deborah Pettibone, Public Information Specialist