Biobanking in Native Communities

Biobanking refers to the process of storing human tissue for use in health research. These tissue samples are known as biospecimens. Rapid advances in the genetic analysis of biospecimens have the potential to improve treatments for chronic disease. However, many American Indian and Alaska Native communities have a well-documented legacy of mistrust for health research, especially research involving biospecimens and genetic analysis. Our study has two closely related aims. The first is to offer culturally relevant education to Native communities on biobanking and measure any changes in community knowledge, attitudes, or beliefs. The second is to hear community members’ opinions and concerns regarding the ownership and appropriate use of biospecimens, as well as the relation between individual rights and tribal regulation.

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