Knowledge and beliefs about biospecimen research among Chinese older women in Chicago’s Chinatown

Melissa A. Simon*, Laura S. Tom, Xin Qi Dong

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Enhancing the participation of Chinese older women in biobanking efforts is important for precision medicine efforts, as underrepresented groups risk benefiting less than others from medical advancements in individualized therapies. Focusing on a sample of Chinese older women in Chicago’s Chinatown, this qualitative study seeks to describe attitudes toward, and barriers and facilitators of, participation in biospecimen research. Method: We conducted six focus groups among Chinese-speaking adult women age 45 and above. Focus groups were transcribed, coded, and analyzed for emergent themes. Results: Forty-seven women participated in focus groups, the majority (66.0%) were age 66 and over and half (50.1%) had less than a high school education. Participants expressed predominantly positive attitudes toward biospecimen research, but also identified multifaceted barriers to participation that included cultural beliefs of the body, perceived physical and privacy risks, as well as perceptions related to aging. Use of minimally invasive biospecimen collection and education to promote awareness of biospecimen research were suggested facilitators to increasing biospecimen research participation. Conclusions: Culturally and linguistically isolated populations like Chinese older women are at risk of exclusion from advancements in precision medicine. Our findings provide cultural insights for tailoring interventions for Chinese older women to increase knowledge, change attitudes, and increase intention and participation in biospecimen research. We also highlight the need for individual, family, and community level interventions to promote healthy aging among Chinese older women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S41-S49
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences
StatePublished - Jul 1 2017


  • Chinese American
  • Health equity, precision medicine
  • Qualitative research
  • Women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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