Indexed on: 06 May '15Published on: 06 May '15Published in: PloS one
Heart Healthy Lenoir is a transdisciplinary project aimed at creating long-term, sustainable approaches to reduce cardiovascular disease risk disparities in Lenoir County, North Carolina using a design spanning genomic analysis and clinical intervention. We hypothesized that residents of Lenoir County would be unfamiliar and mistrustful of genomic research, and therefore reluctant to participate; additionally, these feelings would be higher in African-Americans.To test our hypothesis, we conducted qualitative research using community-based participatory research principles to ensure our genomic research strategies addressed the needs, priorities, and concerns of the community. African-American (n = 19) and White (n = 16) adults in Lenoir County participated in four focus groups exploring perceptions about genomics and cardiovascular disease. Demographic surveys were administered and a semi-structured interview guide was used to facilitate discussions. The discussions were digitally recorded, transcribed verbatim, and analyzed in ATLAS.ti.From our analysis, key themes emerged: transparent communication, privacy, participation incentives and barriers, knowledge, and the impact of knowing. African-Americans were more concerned about privacy and community impact compared to Whites, however, African-Americans were still eager to participate in our genomic research project. The results from our formative study were used to improve the informed consent and recruitment processes by: 1) reducing misconceptions of genomic studies; and 2) helping to foster participant understanding and trust with the researchers. Our study demonstrates how community-based participatory research principles can be used to gain deeper insight into the community and increase participation in genomic research studies. Due in part to these efforts 80.3% of eligible African-American participants and 86.9% of eligible White participants enrolled in the Heart Healthy Lenoir Genomics study making our overall enrollment 57.8% African-American. Future research will investigate return of genomic results in the Lenoir community.