At a Moment's Notice: Community Advisory Board Perspectives on Biobank Communication to Supplement Broad Consent

Karen M. Meagher, Susan H. Curtis, Kylie O. Gamm, Erica J. Sutton, Jennifer B. McCormick, Richard R. Sharp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Introduction: To address ethical concerns about the of future research authorization, biobanks employing a broad model of consent can design ongoing communication with contributors. Notifying contributors at the time of sample distribution provides one form of communication to supplement broad consent. However, little is known about how community-informed governance might anticipate contributor responses and inform communication efforts. Objective: We explored the attitudes of members of a three-site Community Advisory Board (CAB) network. CAB members responded to a hypothetical proposal for notifying biobank contributors at the time of sample distribution to researchers utilizing the biobank. Methods: We used regularly scheduled CAB meetings to facilitate 3 large-group and 6 small-group discussions. Discussions were audio-recorded, transcribed, and analyzed for thematic content using descriptive thematic analysis. Results: The results challenged our expectation of general support for the proposed communications. While CAB members identified some advantages, they were concerned about several potential harms to biobank contributors and the biobank. The CABs understood biobank communication in terms of an ongoing relationship with the biobank and a personal contribution to research. Conclusion:Our findings contribute to the emerging literature on community engagement in biobanking. Additional communication with biobank contributors can serve a variety of value-based objectives to supplement broad consent. Design of communication efforts by biobanks can be improved by CAB members' anticipation of the unintended consequences of additional contact with contributors. CAB members' holistic interpretation of communication efforts suggests that biobank leadership considers all communication options as part of a more comprehensive communications strategy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)77-89
Number of pages13
JournalPublic health genomics
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Genetics(clinical)


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