Partnership for the Advancement of Cancer Research Project

Pilot Research Project Sixteen

Health Disparities and Access to Participation in Cancer-related Research

Co-Principal Investigators:
Rachel Ceballos, Staff Scientist, Public Health Sciences – FHCRC and Beti Thompson, Full Member, Public Health Sciences – FHCRC
Hugo Vilchis, Director, Border Epidemiology and Environmental Health Center - NMSU

Latinos are less likely to participate in biomedical research than their non-Hispanic White counterparts. This disparity is important because it increases the exclusion of the largest minority group in the United States from being involved in biomedical research. This lack has significant implications for the Latino population in terms of cancer prevention strategies, treatment efforts, and post-treatment care. This research proposes to understand factors related to Latino individuals' decision-making about participation in biomedical research in the expectation that understanding decision-making will provide insights for encouraging ethical participation in biomedical studies. The overall question to be addressed in this study is: What factors, especially cultural factors, influence the decision of low socio-economic status US-Mexico border Latinos to become or not become involved in biomedical research, with a special emphasis on cancer? A corollary question is: What is the understanding of members of that population of the issues related to biomedical research ; for example, informed consent, confidentiality, and risks related to participation? Thus, the specific aims of the study are:

  1. To conduct qualitative research to ascertain how Latino populations living in a border community think about biomedical related research; specifically,
    1. To ascertain how Latino individuals think about providing biological samples for research purposes;
    2. To determine what barriers and facilitators exist that influence the population in decisions to participate in biomedical research such as clinical trials; and
    3. To identify cultural factors which are important in the decision to participate in biomedical research.
  2. To develop and cognitively test a survey instrument that includes the information attained from the qualitative research of the study; and
  3. To pilot test the questionnaire in a sample population of Latino individuals living in one community along the US-Mexico Border region .

For More Information

Information about Dr. Thompson's research can be found at:

Information about the research conducted through the Border Epidemiology and Environmental Health Center can be found at:

Faculty and students interested in learning more about this pilot project may contact Dr. Rachel Ceballos at: or Dr. Hugo Vilchis at:

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center is a world leader in research to prevent, detect and treat cancer and other life-threatening diseases.