Amplifying Their Voices: Advice, Guidance, and Perceived Value of Cancer Biobanking Research Among an Older, Diverse Cohort

Altovise T. Ewing, Arlener D. Turner, Kwame S. Sakyi, Ahmed Elmi, Michele Towson, Jimmie L. Slade, Adrian S. Dobs, Jean G. Ford, Lori H. Erby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The use of biobanks may accelerate scientists’ chances of developing cures and treatments that are tailored to individuals’ biological makeup—a function of the precision medicine movement. However, given the underrepresentation of certain populations in biobanks, the benefits of these resources may not be equitable for all groups, including older, multi-ethnic populations. The objective of this study was to better understand older, multi-ethnic populations’ (1) perceptions of the value of cancer biobanking research, (2) study design preferences, and (3) guidance on ways to promote and increase participation. This study was designed using a community-based participatory research (CBPR) approach and involved eight FGDs with 67 older (65–74 years old) black and white residents from Baltimore City and Prince George’s County, MD. FGDs lasted between 90 and 120 min, and participants received a $25 Target gift card for their participation. Analysis involved an inductive approach in which we went through a series of open and axial coding techniques to generate themes and subthemes. Multiple themes emerged from the FGDs for the development of future cancer-related biobanking research including (1) expectations/anticipated benefits, (2) biobanking design preferences, and (3) ways to optimize participation. Overall, most participants were willing to provide biospecimens and favored cancer-related biobank. To increase participation of older, diverse participants in biobanking protocols, researchers need to engage older, diverse persons as consultants in order to better understand the value of biobanking research to individuals from the various populations. Scientists should also incorporate suggestions from the community on garnering trust and increasing comfort with study design.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)683-693
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Cancer Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2022


  • Biobanking
  • Cancer research
  • Community-based participatory research (CBPR)
  • Diverse population

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Oncology


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