Formative research to design a culturally-appropriate cancer clinical trial education program to increase participation of African American and Latino communities

BMC Public Health. 2020 Jun 3;20(1):840. doi: 10.1186/s12889-020-08939-4.


Background: Addressing knowledge deficiencies about cancer clinical trials and biospecimen donation can potentially improve participation among racial and ethnic minorities. This paper describes the formative research process used to design a culturally-appropriate cancer clinical trials education program for African American and Latino communities. We characterized community member feedback and its integration into the program.

Methods: We incorporated three engagement approaches into the formative research process to iteratively develop the program: including community-based organization (CBO) leaders as research team members, conducting focus groups and cognitive interviews with community members as reviewers/consultants, and interacting with two community advisory groups. An iterative-deductive approach was used to analyze focus group data. Qualitative data from advisory groups and community members were compiled and used to finalize the program.

Results: Focus group themes were: 1) Community Perspectives on Overall Presentation; 2) Community Opinions and Questions on the Content of the Presentation; 3) Culturally Specific Issues to Participation in Cancer Clinical Trials; 4) Barriers to Clinical Trial Participation; and 5) Perspectives of Community Health Educators. Feedback was documented during reviews by scientific experts and community members with suggestions to ensure cultural appropriateness using peripheral, evidential, linguistic, sociocultural strategies, and constituent-involving. The final program consisted of two versions (English and Spanish) of a culturally-appropriate slide presentation with speaker notes and videos representing community member and researcher testimonials.

Conclusions: Incorporating multiple community engagement approaches into formative research processes can facilitate the inclusion of multiple community perspectives and enhance the cultural-appropriateness of the programs designed to promote cancer clinical trial participation among African Americans and Latinos.

Keywords: African Americans; Cancer; Clinical trials; Community health educators (CHEs); Disparities; Education; Latinos; Recruitment.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • African Americans / education*
  • African Americans / psychology
  • Aged
  • Clinical Trials as Topic / psychology*
  • Community-Based Participatory Research
  • Culturally Competent Care / methods*
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Health Education / methods*
  • Hispanic or Latino / education*
  • Hispanic or Latino / psychology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms
  • Qualitative Research
  • Research Subjects / education*
  • Research Subjects / psychology