Doctor of Philosophy, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (2010)
Bachelor of Arts, Agnes Scott College (1990)
Mildred Cho, Postdoctoral Faculty Sponsor
Ethical and social implications of genetic research, particularly in prenatal testing; ethical and social aspects of the translation of new genetic innovations from the lab to the clinic; moral and religious issues in genomic research and medicine.
View details for PubMedID 23664778
Genotype-driven research recruitment complicates traditional study roles and may leave those recruited worried about unwelcome surprises from their DNA. This study investigated the ways that individuals experience genotype-driven recruitment, and conceptualize their roles as research participants.Individual interviews were conducted with the participants of a genotype-driven study on cystic fibrosis. The eligibility criteria included the presence of one of two genetic variants. We interviewed 24 of these participants: 9 had cystic fibrosis and 15 had been selected from a biobank as "healthy volunteers."Participants with cystic fibrosis expressed no concerns about the eligibility criteria and saw themselves as part of a close-knit research community. However, biobank participants were unsure about why they had been selected and how they should think about themselves relative to the study. They sometimes reacted with anxiety to genetic information that they perceived to connect them with cystic fibrosis.Being recruited for a study on the basis of one's genotype may raise uncertainties about the meaning and implications of the genotypic information. People without the disease under study may require especially clear and detailed explanations of what researchers already know about their genetic makeup, in terms of future risk for themselves or their children.
View details for DOI 10.1038/gim.2012.88
View details for Web of Science ID 000311991800006
View details for PubMedID 22935717
Research on the ethical, legal, and social implications (ELSI) of human genomics has devoted significant attention to the research ethics issues that arise from genomic science as it moves through the translational process. Given the prominence of these issues in today's debates over the state of research ethics overall, these studies are well positioned to contribute important data, contextual considerations, and policy arguments to the wider research ethics community's deliberations, and ultimately to develop a research ethics that can help guide biomedicine's future. In this essay, we illustrate this thesis through an analytic summary of the research presented at the 2011 ELSI Congress, an international meeting of genomics and society researchers. We identify three pivotal factors currently shaping genomic research, its clinical translation, and its societal implications: (1) the increasingly blurred boundary between research and treatment; (2) uncertainty--that is, the indefinite, indeterminate, and incomplete nature of much genomic information and the challenges that arise from making meaning and use of it; and (3) the role of negotiations between multiple scientific and non-scientific stakeholders in setting the priorities for and direction of biomedical research, as it is increasingly conducted "in the public square."
View details for DOI 10.1111/j.1748-720X.2012.00728.x
View details for Web of Science ID 000313120000027
View details for PubMedID 23289702
Genotype-driven recruitment is a potentially powerful approach for studying human genetic variation but presents ethical challenges. We conducted in-depth interviews with research participants in six studies where such recruitment occurred. Nearly all responded favorably to the acceptability of recontact for research recruitment, and genotype-driven recruitment was viewed as a positive sign of scientific advancement. Reactions to questions about the disclosure of individual genetic research results varied. Common themes included explaining the purpose of recontact, informing decisions about further participation, reciprocity, "information is valuable," and the possibility of benefit, as well as concerns about undue distress and misunderstanding. Our findings suggest contact about additional research may be least concerning if it involves a known element (e.g., trusted researchers). Also, for genotype-driven recruitment, it may be appropriate to set a lower bar for disclosure of individual results than the clinical utility threshold recommended more generally.
View details for DOI 10.1525/jer.2011.6.4.3
View details for Web of Science ID 000299652300002
View details for PubMedID 22228056
In the debate about whether to return individual genetic results to research participants, consideration of the nature of results has taken precedence over contextual factors associated with different study designs and populations. We conducted in-depth interviews with 24 individuals who participated in a genotype-driven study of cystic fibrosis: 9 of the individuals had cystic fibrosis, 15 had participated as healthy volunteers, and all had gene variants of interest to the researchers. These interviews revealed that the two groups had different ideas about the meaningfulness of genetic results. Our findings point to the importance of understanding research context, such as participants' relationship with the researcher and whether they have the disease condition under study, when considering whether to return individual results.
View details for DOI 10.1525/jer.2011.6.4.30
View details for Web of Science ID 000299652300004
View details for PubMedID 22228058
Human genome research depends upon participants who donate genetic samples, but few studies have explored in depth the motivations of genetic research donors. This mixed methods study examines telephone interviews with 752 sample donors in a U.S. genetic epidemiology study investigating colorectal cancer. Quantitative and qualitative results indicate that most participants wanted to help society, and that many also wanted information about their own health, even though such information was not promised. Qualitative analysis reveals that donors believed their samples contributed to a scientific "common good"; imagined samples as information rather than tissues; and often blurred distinctions between research and diagnostic testing of samples. Differences between African American and White perspectives were distinct from educational and other possible explanatory factors.
View details for DOI 10.1525/jer.2011.6.2.57
View details for Web of Science ID 000292422000007
View details for PubMedID 21680977
This article examines the place of religion in the narratives of mothers of children with fragile X syndrome. In semistructured interviews, a majority of women combined narratives of religious practice with illness narratives, interpreting their children's disabilities within a religious framework. Informed by Arthur Frank's (1995) concept of "wounded storytellers," the authors articulate a reconciliation narrative that mothers commonly used to describe their transition from viewing disability as a burden or challenge to seeing it as a blessing, or as a part of God's purpose or plan for their lives. The authors discuss the significance of narrative for better understanding religious perspectives on disability and conclude with the implications of these findings for practitioners and future research.
View details for DOI 10.1352/1934-9556-48.2.99
View details for Web of Science ID 000277553000002
View details for PubMedID 20597744