Can Precision Medicine Actually Help People Like Me? African American and Hispanic Perspectives on the Benefits and Barriers of Precision Medicine


By bhadmin February 2, 2021

To better understand African American and Hispanic perspectives on the potential benefits of precision medicine, along with the potential barriers that may prevent precision medicine from being equally beneficial to all. We also sought to identify if there were differences between African American and Hispanic perspectives. Six semi-structured focus groups were conducted between May 2017 and February 2018 to identify benefits and barriers to precision medicine. Three groups occurred in Nashville, TN with African American participants and three groups occurred in Miami, FL with Hispanic participants. At community-based and university sites convenient to community partners and participants. A total of 55 individuals participated (27 in Nashville, 28 in Miami). The majority of participants were women (76.5%) and the mean age of participants was 56.2 years old. Both African Americans and Hispanics believed precision medicine has the potential to improve medicine and health outcomes by individualizing care and decreasing medical uncertainty. However, both groups were concerned that inadequacies in health care institutions and socioeconomic barriers would prevent their communities from receiving the full benefits of precision medicine. African Americans were also concerned that the genetic and non-genetic personal information revealed through precision medicine would make African Americans further vulnerable to provider racism and discrimination in and outside of health care. While these groups believed precision medicine might yield benefits for health outcomes, they are also skeptical about whether African Americans and Hispanics would actually benefit from precision medicine given current structural limitations and disparities in health care access and quality.

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