Precision medicine research with American Indian and Alaska Native communities: Results of a deliberative engagement with tribal leaders

Susan Brown Trinidad, Erika Blacksher, Richard Brian Woodbury, Scarlett E. Hopkins, Wylie Burke, Erica L. Woodahl, Bert B. Boyer, Vanessa Y. Hiratsuka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Purpose: Amid calls for greater diversity in precision medicine research, the perspectives of Indigenous people have been underexplored. Our goals were to understand tribal leaders’ views regarding the potential benefits and risks of such research, explore its priority for their communities, and identify the policies and safeguards they consider essential. This article reports on the participants’ perspectives regarding governance and policy, stewardship and sharing of information and biospecimens, and informed consent. Methods: After informal local dialogs with 21 tribal leaders, we convened a 2.5-day deliberation with tribal leaders (N = 10) in Anchorage, Alaska, in June 2019 using a combination of small group and plenary discussion, ranking, and voting exercises to explore the perspectives on precision medicine research. Results: Tribal sovereignty was central to participants’ ideas about precision medicine research. Although views were generally positive, provided that the appropriate controls were in place, some kinds of research were deemed unacceptable, and the collection of certain biospecimens was rejected by some participants. Differences were observed regarding the acceptability of broad consent. Conclusion: Tribal leaders in this study were generally supportive of precision medicine research, with the caveat that tribal oversight is essential for the establishment of research repositories and the conduct of research involving Indigenous participants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)622-630
Number of pages9
JournalGenetics in Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • American Indian and Alaska Native
  • Community engagement
  • Precision medicine
  • Public deliberation
  • Research ethics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics(clinical)


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