IGNITE-ing community engagement

Monday, October 15, 2018
By Alissa Kocer

As part of a one-day event in Baltimore, Maryland, on October 4, Ryanne Wu and other IGNITE study team members met with members of the Baltimore community involved in the IGNITE research study at the University of Maryland and from the PATIENTS Program at the university. 

Team members presented research studies from the IGNITE network. Community members had the opportunity to provide feedback on the IGNITE work, including how to better engage with minority communities, what barriers and concerns they have regarding genomic research, and what topics they are interested in becoming more involved with.

Genomic research participants previously have largely been from European and European-American populations. There is now recognition that the research community needs to better engage minorities and involve everyone in genomic discovery and implementation research efforts. “We need to address disparities in care, which starts with understanding where the gaps are and what the needs of the community are,” Wu said. “We also need to recognize that while most of our genome is similar across races, certain variants are more or less common in certain ethnic populations. This has impact on how we interpret the significance of the variants we find. None of this is possible if we do not have representation from a diversity of patients.” Through these efforts, the hope is that we can determine ways to improve care for everyone. 

There is a second community stakeholders’ meeting planned for New York, NY at the end of October.