Public preferences regarding informed consent models for participation in population-based genomic research
ABSTRACT Purpose:Some large population biobanks that house biospecimens and health information for research seek broad consent from participants, whereas others reconsent for specific new studies. Understanding research participants' attitudes and preferences about broad and narrow consent may improve recruitment, retention, and public support.Methods:An online survey was conducted among a representative sample of 4,659 US adults to examine relationships between consent preferences and demographic factors, beliefs about privacy and the value of research, and the perceived trustworthiness of researchers.Results:Participants preferred broad consent (52%) over study-by-study consent models (48%). Higher preferences for study-by-study consent observed among black non-Hispanic respondents and respondents with lower income and education were explained by differences in the prevalence of one or more beliefs about the study. Respondents with fears about research and those who would feel respected if asked for permission for each research use preferred study-by-study consent. Preference for broad consent was related to the desire not to be bothered with multiple requests and the belief that the study could lead to improved treatments, cures, and lives saved.Conclusion:These data suggest that support for broad consent is contingent on sufficient information about data use. Work with research participants and community leaders to understand, respond to, and influence opinions about a given, ongoing study may improve uptake of broad consent.Genet Med advance online publication 9 May 2013Genetics in Medicine (2013); doi:10.1038/gim.2013.59.
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ABSTRACT: Genetic counselors have a long-standing history of working on the clinical forefront of implementing new genetic technology. Genomic sequencing is no exception. The rapid advancement of genomic sequencing technologies, including but not limited to next generation sequencing approaches, across all subspecialties of genetic counseling mandates attention to genetic counselor training at both the graduate and continuing education levels. The current era provides a tremendous opportunity for counselors to become actively involved in making genomics more accessible, engaging the population in decisions to undergo sequencing and effectively translating genomic information to promote health and well-being. In this commentary, we explore reasons why genomic sequencing warrants particular consideration and put forward strategies for training program curricula and continuing education programs to meet this need.Journal of Genetic Counseling 02/2014; 23(4). DOI:10.1007/s10897-014-9689-4
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ABSTRACT: Large population biobanks, important resources for genomic research, also present ethical challenges. The Michigan BioTrust for Health makes dried bloodspots (DBS) leftover from newborn screening, including ~4.5 million collected before 2010 without written consent, available for health research. Absent prospectively gathered consent and/or current engagement with 18- to 29-year olds, little is known about opinions and beliefs from this age group about use of the bloodspots for research. We engaged 2,101 students-BioTrust participants and their peers-at information booths at 20 college campuses across the state to educate youth about the BioTrust and gather information about consent preferences and about hopes and concerns about this public health program. We surveyed student stakeholder DBS research consent preferences and fielded a "postengagement" survey to gauge the attitudes of participants and to evaluate the campus engagement. The most prevalent themes in open-ended comments were support for biobank research and concern that Michiganders are not aware of their participation. While 78 % of students said they would, if asked, opt in to the BioTrust, half of these preferred to be contacted each time a researcher sought to use their DBS. Students reported great interest in the topic and strong likelihood to share what they had learned. BioTrust participants are interested in learning about their role in an initiative whose goals they widely support. Public engagement is particularly important to biobank participants who, absent traditional consent practices, are unaware of their participation. Health-fair style engagements were effective for targeting college-aged stakeholders, communicating complex messages, and likely increasing knowledge. Retrospective biobanks and biobanks that collect proxy consent need policies to respect those who would opt out and will need resources to educate participants and conduct community outreach that is a safeguard to public trust.Journal of community genetics 06/2014; 5(4). DOI:10.1007/s12687-014-0190-4
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ABSTRACT: Biobanks, collections of biospecimens with or without linked medical data, have increased dramatically in number in the last two decades. Their potential power to identify the underlying mechanisms of both rare and common disease has catalyzed their proliferation in the academic, medical, and private sectors. Despite demonstrated public support of biobanks, some within the academic, governmental, and public realms have also expressed cautions associated with the ethical, legal, and social (ELSI) implications of biobanks. These issues include concerns related to the privacy and confidentiality of data; return of results and incidental findings to participants; data sharing and secondary use of samples; informed consent mechanisms; ownership of specimens; and benefit sharing (i.e., the distribution of financial or other assets that result from the research). Such apprehensions become amplified as more researchers seek to pursue national and cross-border collaborations between biobanks. This paper provides an overview of two of the most contentious topics in biobank literature -informed consent and return of individual research results or incidental findings - and explores how a public health ethics lens may help to shed new light on how these issues may be best approached and managed. Doing so also demonstrates the important role that genetic counselors can play in the ongoing discussion of ethically appropriate biobank recruitment and management strategies, as well as identifies important areas of ongoing empirical research on these unresolved topics.Journal of Genetic Counseling 10/2014; 24(3). DOI:10.1007/s10897-014-9781-9