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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Perceptions from latino and african american older adults about biological markers in research.

  • Author(s): Moreno, Gerardo
  • Mangione, Carol M
  • Meza, Carlos E
  • Kwon, Ivy
  • Seeman, Teresa
  • Trejo, Laura
  • Moore, Mignon
  • Sarkisian, Catherine A
  • et al.

Although older adult minorities face disparities in health and health care, they continue to be underrepresented in health research. Studies with biological markers of health often lack representation of older minority adults. The purpose of this study was to describe perceptions of biomarkers among ethnic minority seniors who might participate in studies of biological markers of health and to document barriers and facilitators to acceptance of biomarkers. Six focus groups (3 of Spanish-speaking Latinos and 3 of African Americans) were conducted in three community senior service organizations (two senior centers and one church). Ten semi-structured interviews were conducted to support and augment focus group data. Seventy-two community dwelling minority older adults aged 62 years and older and 10 community stakeholders participated. A community-based partnered research approach was used and two community partners participated in the analysis and interpretation of results. Standard qualitative content-analysis methods were used to identify and organize themes in domains. Focus group participants were 49% Latino and 51 o/o African American. Results included barriers: 1) mistrust, 2) fear of specimen collection/storage, 3) perceived harms, 4) competing demands, and 5) costs. Older Latinos cited issues of language as barriers to awareness and acceptance of biomarkers. African Americans had concerns over perceived harms of biomarkers. Facilitators to acceptance of biomarkers were community engagement through church and community leaders. Older Latino and African Americans identified many barriers and facilitators to the collection and storage of biomarkers. Participants identified community-partnered recommendations to overcome barriers to the acceptance, collection, and storage of biomarkers.

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