Leveraging community-based participatory research capacity to recruit Pacific Islanders into a genetics study

Pearl A. McElfish, Marie Rachelle Narcisse, Christopher R. Long, Britni L. Ayers, Nicola L. Hawley, Nia Aitaoto, Sheldon Riklon, L. Joseph Su, Shumona Z. Ima, Ralph O. Wilmoth, Thomas K. Schulz, Susan Kadlubar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Pacific Islanders face many health disparities, including higher rates of cardiovascular disease, cancer, obesity, and diabetes compared to other racial and ethnic groups. Specifically, the Marshallese population suffers disproportionately from type 2 diabetes, with rates 400% higher than the general US population. As part of an ongoing community-based participatory research (CBPR) partnership, 148 participants were recruited for a study examining genetic variants to better understand diabetes. Participants provided a saliva specimen in an Oragene® DNA self-collection kit. Each participant provided approximately 2 mL volume of saliva and was asked qualitative questions about their experience. The study yielded a recruitment rate of 95.5%. Among the 148 persons who participated, 143 (96.6%) agreed to be contacted for future studies; 142 (95.9%) agreed to have their samples used for future IRB-approved studies; and 144 (97.3%) gave permission for the researchers to link information from this study to other studies in which they had participated. Qualitative responses showed that the majority of participants were willing to participate because of their desire to contribute to the health of their community and to understand the genetic influence related to diabetes. This study demonstrates willingness to participate in genetic research among Marshallese living in Arkansas. Willingness was likely enhanced because the feasibility study was part of a larger CBPR effort. This study is important to community stakeholders who have voiced a desire to collaboratively conduct genetic research related to diabetes, perinatal outcomes, and cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)283-291
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Community Genetics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Community-based participatory research
  • Diabetes
  • Genetics
  • Pacific Islanders

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Genetics(clinical)


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