Investigator/IRB-led community communication in genetic research: A descriptive feasibility pilot study

Kirstin M Rochford, The University of Texas School of Public Health


This pilot study, conducted in the Houston, TX, area, established a structured dialogue among a university Institutional Review Board, its researchers, and its local community members (i.e. pool of potential research participants) for the purpose of further educating all three parties about genetic research and community concerns related to such research. An IRB-designed educational presentation aimed at assisting potential subjects in making an informed decision to participate in genetic research was provided to four community groups (n=54); this presentation also included a current example of genetic research being conducted in the community as explained by the researcher, and a question-and-answer session designed to assist the IRB and the researcher in understanding the community's concerns about genetic research. Comparisons of pre- and post- presentation community questionnaires indicate that the joint presentation was effective in increasing community knowledge about genetic research, most notably related to the risks and benefits of this research to the individual, as well as the understanding that protections are in place for research participants. While researchers are optimistic about the idea of a collaborative effort with the IRB and the community, the feasibility of such a program and the benefit to the participating researchers remain unclear; additional research is necessary to establish the most effective method of communication for all groups involved, as well as to obtain statistically significant results with regard to race/ethnicity, gender, and education levels of community participants.

Subject Area

Molecular biology|Public health|Epidemiology

Recommended Citation

Rochford, Kirstin M, "Investigator/IRB-led community communication in genetic research: A descriptive feasibility pilot study" (2008). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1450268.