Background: Inclusion of American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) populations in pharmacogenetic research is key if the benefits of pharmacogenetic testing are to reach these communities. Community-based participatory research (CBPR) offers a model to engage these communities in pharmacogenetics.

Objectives: An academic–community partnership between the University of Montana (UM) and the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT) was established to engage the community as partners and advisors in pharmacogenetic research.

Methods: A community advisory committee, the Community Pharmacogenetics Advisory Council (CPAC), was established to ensure community involvement in the research process. To promote bidirectional learning, researchers gave workshops and presentations about pharmacogenetic research to increase research capacity and CPAC members trained researchers in cultural competencies. As part of our commitment to a sustainable relationship, we conducted a self-assessment of the partnership, which included surveys and interviews with CPAC members and researchers.

Results: Academic and community participants agree that the partnership has promoted a bidirectional exchange of knowledge. Interviews showed positive feedback from the perspectives of both the CPAC and researchers. CPAC members discussed their trust in and support of the partnership, as well as having learned more about research processes and pharmacogenetics. Researchers discussed their appreciation of CPAC involvement in the project and guidance the group provided in understanding the CSKT community and culture.

Discussion: We have created an academic–community partnership to ensure CSKT community input and to share decision making about pharmacogenetic research. Our CBPR approach may be a model for engaging AI/AN people, and other underserved populations, in genetic research.


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pp. 173-183
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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