UBC Faculty Research and Publications

The Inclusion of Underrepresented Populations in Cardiovascular Genetics and Epidemiology Chappell, Elias; Arbour, Laura; Laksman, Zachary


Novel genetic risk markers have helped us to advance the field of cardiovascular epidemiology and refine our current understanding and risk stratification paradigms. The discovery and analysis of variants can help us to tailor prognostication and management. However, populations underrepresented in cardiovascular epidemiology and cardiogenetics research may experience inequities in care if prediction tools are not applicable to them clinically. Therefore, the purpose of this article is to outline the barriers that underrepresented populations can face in participating in genetics research, to describe the current efforts to diversify cardiogenetics research, and to outline strategies that researchers in cardiovascular epidemiology can implement to include underrepresented populations. Mistrust, a lack of diverse research teams, the improper use of sensitive biodata, and the constraints of genetic analyses are all barriers for including diverse populations in genetics studies. The current work is beginning to address the paucity of ethnically diverse genetics research and has already begun to shed light on the potential benefits of including underrepresented and diverse populations. Reducing barriers for individuals, utilizing community-driven research processes, adopting novel recruitment strategies, and pushing for organizational support for diverse genetics research are key steps that clinicians and researchers can take to develop equitable risk stratification tools and improve patient care.

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