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The 5th ELSI Congress - ELSIcon2022

ELSIcon2022 Paper: White racial framing and comfort with medical research: a critical analysis


ELSIcon2022 • Paper • May 27, 2022

Melissa Creary, Jodyn Platt, Sharon Kardia, Paige Nong

Objectives: To analyze racial differences in comfort with medical research using an alternative to the white racial frame that typically treats white people as raceless while problematizing Black people’s perspectives or experiences.

Methods: We analyzed survey responses (n=1,570) from Black and white English-speaking residents of the United States using multivariable modeling with and without design weights to identify relationships between perceptions of and comfort participating in medical research.

Results: A lower proportion of white respondents than Black respondents reported that medical experimentation occurred without patient consent (p<0.001) and a higher proportion of white respondents reported that it should be their right to participate in medical research (p=0.02). The belief that it is one’s right to participate in medical research was significantly predictive of comfort with medical research (b=0.37, p<0.001). The belief that experimentation occurs without consent was significantly predictive of comfort for white participants but not for Black participants.

Conclusions: Higher comfort with medical research, lower concerns about experimentation, and a rights-based orientation to research reported by white respondents compared to Black respondents demonstrates the comparative advantages of white patients in medical research. Efforts to diversify medical research may become exploitative if they do not better engage with and respond to the needs and priorities of Black patients.


Motivation to participate in research
Public Health

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