Partnering with First Nations in Northern British Columbia Canada to Reduce Inequity in Access to Genomic Research Caron, Nadine R.; Adam, Wilf; Anderson, Kate; Boswell, Brooke T.; Chongo, Meck; Deineko, Viktor; Dick, Alexanne; Hall, Shannon E.; Hatcher, Jessica T.; Howard, Patricia; et al.
Indigenous-led, culturally safe health research and infrastructure are essential to address existing inequities and disparities for Indigenous Peoples globally. Biobanking, genomic research, and self-governance could reduce the existing divide and increase Indigenous participation in health research. While genomic research advances medicine, barriers persist for Indigenous patients to benefit. In northern BC, Canada, the Northern Biobank Initiative (NBI), with guidance from a Northern First Nations Biobank Advisory Committee (NFNBAC), has engaged in consultations with First Nations on biobanking and genomic research. Key informant interviews and focus groups conducted with First Nations leaders, Elders, Knowledge Keepers, and community members established culturally safe ways of biobanking and exploring genomic research. Strong support for a Northern British Columbia First Nations Biobank (NBCFNB) that will promote choice, inclusion, and access to health research opportunities emerged. The acceptance and enthusiasm for the development of this NBCFNB and its governance table highlight the shift towards Indigenous ownership and support of health research and its benefits. With engagement and partnership, community awareness, multigenerational involvement, and support from diverse and experienced healthcare leaders, the NBCFNB will establish this culturally safe, locally driven, and critically important research priority that may serve as an example for diverse Indigenous groups when designing their unique biobanking or genomic research opportunities.
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