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Translational Health Research

Translational Health Research is well defined and widely practiced as the “bench-to-bedside” or “discovery to delivery” concept stated by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).  National Cancer Institute further outlines translational continuum in five phases: basic science discovery, early translation, late translation, dissemination, and adoption.  The goal of the Center’s translational health research is to foster collaborative transdisciplinary research infrastructure and capacity in eliminating health disparities.   

Use Decision Aid to Engage Asian American and Understudied Patients in Clinical Trial Education and Participation 

Clinical trials are a critical resource for the discovery of new prevention, diagnostic and treatment methods for cancer. Clinical trials are an important part of improving quality of health care. However, the impact of clinical trial research may be limited by low participation of underrepresented racial/ethnic minority populations. Asian Americans are the least represented of any US ethnic groups in clinical trials.

Explaining disparities in clinical trial participation is complex for Asian Americans. The low representation in clinical trials may be attributed to cultural beliefs and attitudes toward or lack of knowledge about the importance of clinical trial research to the health of the community.  In addition, complex consent forms and procedures prevent Asian Americans, especially those who have low literacy levels and limited English proficiency from participating clinical trials. Other barriers include mistrust of researchers, language issues, lack of financial and social support, and cultural differences from the mainstream. Facilitators of participation in cancer prevention and treatment clinical trials have been linked to recommendations by trusted health providers. However, studies indicated that information about clinical trials is not offered to patients by their treating physician.

Our team developed decision aid to engage Asian American and other underserved cancer patients to seek clinical trial education and clinical trial participation for treatment options.

Engage Underserved Populations in Precision Medicine and  Biospecimen Research Participation 

Biospecimen research using samples of blood, tissue, and proteins from body fluids is integral for studies that examine variations in disease risk or characteristics, including variations by race/ethnicity. Low rates of racial/ethnic minority participation in biospecimen research may negatively impact advances in medical research pertinent to these groups. There is a lack of information about Asian Americans knowledge, perceptions, attitudes, and behaviors in regard to biospecimen collection and future use for research. Notably, little research has examined the circumstances under which people would be willing to donate biological samples for research.

Although there is a growing body of literature on knowledge, perceptions, and attitudes in regard to biospecimen research, few studies have presented data on actual biospecimen donation behaviors in response to outreach and educational programs, particularly in Asian American populations. This dearth of data indicates an urgent need for well-designed studies, with culturally appropriate methods and measures, to establish key determinants of awareness, opportunity, and acceptance of participation in biospecimen research and to develop and implement culturally appropriate promotion and education programs to increase knowledge, change attitudes and intent, and increase participation in biospecimen research among Asian  Americans and other underserved populations.