Community dissemination and genetic research: moving beyond results reporting

Am J Med Genet A. 2015 Jul;167(7):1542-50. doi: 10.1002/ajmg.a.37028. Epub 2015 Apr 21.


The community-based participatory research (CBPR) literature notes that researchers should share study results with communities. In the case of human genetic research, results may be scientifically interesting but lack clinical relevance. The goals of this study were to learn what kinds of information community members want to receive about genetic research and how such information should be conveyed. We conducted eight focus group discussions with Yup'ik Alaska Native people in southwest Alaska (N = 60) and 6 (N = 61) with members of a large health maintenance organization in Seattle, Washington. Participants wanted to receive genetic information they "could do something about" and wanted clinically actionable information to be shared with their healthcare providers; they also wanted researchers to share knowledge about other topics of importance to the community. Although Alaska Native participants were generally less familiar with western scientific terms and less interested in web-based information sources, the main findings were the same in Alaska and Seattle: participants wished for ongoing dialogue, including opportunities for informal, small-group conversations, and receiving information that had local relevance. Effective community dissemination is more than a matter of presenting study results in lay language. Community members should be involved in both defining culturally appropriate communication strategies and in determining which information should be shared. Reframing dissemination as a two-way dialogue, rather than a one-way broadcast, supports the twin aims of advancing scientific knowledge and achieving community benefit.

Keywords: Alaska Native; communication; dissemination; genetic research; qualitative research.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Alaska
  • Community-Based Participatory Research / methods
  • Community-Based Participatory Research / standards*
  • Focus Groups
  • Genetics, Medical / methods*
  • Health Maintenance Organizations
  • Humans
  • Information Dissemination / methods*
  • Internet
  • Inuits / psychology
  • Research Report*
  • Washington