Large-scale genetic databases are being developed in several countries around the world. However, these databases depend on public participation and acquiescence. In the past, information campaigns have been waged and little attention has been paid to dialogue. Nowadays, it is important to include the public in the development of scientific research and to encourage a free, open and useful dialogue among those involved. This paper is a review of community consultation strategies as part of four proposed large-scale genetic databases in Iceland, Estonia, United Kingdom and Quebec. The Iceland Health Sector Database and Estonian Genome Project have followed a "communication approach" in order to address public concerns, whereas, UK Biobank and Quebec CARTaGENE have chosen a "partnership approach" to involve the public in decision-making processes. Following a comparison of community consultation strategies, the main concerns of the public are examined as well as the challenges of involving communities. Importantly, reported across all groups is the concern for confidentiality, respect of the individual, transparency, and the donor's right to access to their own result. However, even if researchers demonstrate a willingness to respect values such as fair representation, transparency and accountability, there is still a risk that the public will mistrust researchers and simply will not participate in sufficient numbers. Complications may arise when individual and community interests conflicts. The implementation of a partnership approach is definitely involving and costly; however, if used properly, this method can improve both participation and so database development.
Comment In: Sci Eng Ethics. 2004 Jul;10(3):479-8015362703
Comment In: Sci Eng Ethics. 2004 Jul;10(3):481-215362704
Research ethics boards and institutional review boards (REBs/IRBs) have been criticized for relying on conceptions of research that privilege biomedical, clinical, and experimental designs, and for penalizing research that deviates from this model. Studies that use a community-based participatory research (CBPR) design have been identified as particularly challenging to navigate through existing ethics review frameworks. However, the voices of REB/IRB members and staff have been largely absent in this debate. The objective of this article is to explore the perspectives of members of Canadian university-based REBs/IRBs regarding their capacity to review CBPR protocols. We present findings from interviews with 24 Canadian REB/IRB members, staff, and other key informants. Participants were asked to describe and contrast their experiences reviewing studies using CBPR and mainstream approaches. Contrary to the perception that REBs/IRBs are inflexible and unresponsive, participants described their attempts to dialogue and negotiate with researchers and to provide guidance. Overall, these Canadian REBs/IRBs demonstrated a more complex understanding of CBPR than is typically characterized in the literature. Finally, we situate our findings within literature on relational ethics and explore the possibility of researchers and REBs/IRBs working collaboratively to find solutions to unique ethical tensions in CBPR.
The Palliative Care Outreach Program provides consultation, medical care, and psychosocial, emotional and spiritual support to palliative care patients and their families in an out-patient setting. In just over 1 year of operation, the program has proved to be an essential community-based service.