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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Community recommendations on biobank governance: Results from a deliberative community engagement in California.

  • Author(s): Dry, Sarah M
  • Garrett, Sarah B
  • Koenig, Barbara A
  • Brown, Arleen F
  • Burgess, Michael M
  • Hult, Jen R
  • Longstaff, Holly
  • Wilcox, Elizabeth S
  • Madrigal Contreras, Sigrid Karina
  • Martinez, Arturo
  • Boyd, Elizabeth A
  • Dohan, Daniel
  • et al.

United States-based biorepositories are on the cusp of substantial change in regulatory oversight at the same time that they are increasingly including samples and data from large populations, e.g. all patients in healthcare system. It is appropriate to engage stakeholders from these populations in new governance arrangements. We sought to describe community recommendations for biorepository governance and oversight using deliberative community engagement (DCE), a qualitative research method designed to elicit lay perspectives on complex technical issues. We asked for stakeholders to provide input on governance of large biorepositories at the University of California (UC), a public university. We defined state residents as stakeholders and recruited residents from two large metropolitan areas, Los Angeles (LA) and San Francisco (SF). In LA, we recruited English and Spanish speakers; in SF the DCE was conducted in English only. We recruited individuals who had completed the 2009 California Health Interview Survey and were willing to be re-contacted for future studies. Using stratified random sampling (by age, education, race/ethnicity), we contacted 162 potential deliberants of whom 53 agreed to participate and 51 completed the 4-day DCE in June (LA) and September-October (SF), 2013. Each DCE included discussion among deliberants facilitated by a trained staff and simultaneously-translated in LA. Deliberants also received a briefing book describing biorepository operations and regulation. During the final day of the DCE, deliberants voted on governance and oversight recommendations using an audience response system. This paper describes 23 recommendations (of 57 total) that address issues including: educating the public, sharing samples broadly, monitoring researcher behavior, using informative consent procedures, and involving community members in a transparent process of biobank governance. This project demonstrates the feasibility of obtaining meaningful input on biorepository governance from diverse lay stakeholders. Such input should be considered as research institutions respond to changes in biorepository regulation.

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