Preferences for and acceptability of receiving pharmacogenomic results by mail: A focus group study with a primarily African-American cohort

Priscilla A. Chan, Katie L. Lewis, Barbara B. Biesecker, Lori H. Erby, Grace Ann Fasaye, Sandra Epps, Leslie G. Biesecker, Erin Turbitt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although genetic counseling is traditionally done through in-person, one-on-one visits, workforce shortages call for efficient result return mechanisms. Studies have shown that telephone and in-person return of cancer genetic results are equivalent for patient outcomes. Few studies have been conducted with other modes, result types or racially diverse participants. This study explored participants’ perspectives on receiving pharmacogenomic results by mail. Two experienced moderators facilitated six focus groups with 49 individuals who self-identified primarily as African-American and consented to participate in a genome sequencing cohort study. Participants were given a hypothetical pharmacogenomic result report (positive for c.521T>C in SLCO1B1). An accompanying letter explained that the result was associated with statin intolerance along with a recommendation to share it with one's doctor and immediate relatives. Participants reacted to the idea of receiving this type of result by mail, discussing whether the letter's information was sufficient and what they predicted they would do with the result. Two researchers coded the focus group transcripts and identified themes. Many participants thought that it was appropriate to receive the result through the mail, but some suggested a phone call alerting the recipient to the letter. Others emphasized that although a letter was acceptable for disclosing pharmacogenomic results, it would be insufficient for what they perceived as life-threatening results. Most participants found the content sufficient. Some participants suggested resources about statin intolerance and warning signs be added. Most claimed they would share the result with their doctor, yet few participants offered they would share the result with their relatives. This exploratory study advances the evidence that African-American research participants are receptive to return of certain genetic results by approaches that do not involve direct contact with a genetic counselor and intend to share results with providers. ClinSeq: A Large-Scale Medical Sequencing Clinical Research Pilot Study (NCT00410241).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1582-1590
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Genetic Counseling
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • African-Americans
  • communication
  • genetic counseling
  • pharmacogenomics
  • scalable

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics(clinical)


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