Improving Community Advisory Board Engagement in Precision Medicine Research to Reduce Health Disparities

J Health Dispar Res Pract. 2019 Winter;12(6):80-94.


Community Advisory Boards (CABs) are used in efforts to reduce health disparities; however, there is little documentation in the literature regarding their use in precision medicine research. In this case study, an academic-CAB partnership developed a questionnaire and patient educational materials for two precision smoking cessation interventions that involved use of genetic or genetically-informed information. The community-engaged research (CEnR) literature provided a framework for enhancing benefits to CAB members involved in developing research documents for use with a low-income, ethnically diverse population of smokers.The academic partners integrated three CEnR strategies: 1) in-meeting statements acknowledging their desire to learn from community partners, 2) in-meeting written feedback to and from community partners, and 3) a survey to obtain CAB member feedback post-meetings. Strategies 1 and 2 yielded modifications to pertinent study materials, as well as suggestions for improving meeting operations that were then adopted, as appropriate, by the academic partners. The survey indicated that CAB members valued the meeting procedure changes which appeared to have contributed to improvements in attendance and satisfaction with the meetings. Further operationalization of relevant partnership constructs and development of tools for measuring these aspects of community-academic partnerships is warranted to support community engagement in precision medicine research studies.

Keywords: community advisory board; community-engaged research; health disparities; precision medicine.