Milken Institute School of Public Health Poster Presentations (Marvin Center & Video)

Title

Attitudes toward Environmental and Reproductive Health among Men of Color

Poster Number

43

Document Type

Poster

Publication Date

3-2016

Abstract

PURPOSE: African-Americans have been historically underrepresented in environmental and reproductive health studies. This lack of inclusive research participation threatens the validity of findings and weakens generalizability to potentially at-risk populations.

METHODS: The objective of this study was to use qualitative methods to explore attitudes toward reproductive health, environmental health, research participation and research recruitment. Three semi-structured focus groups were conducted with 24 African-American male participants, aged 25-64, recruited from the greater Washington, DC area. Data were analyzed using thematic content rooted in Grounded Theory.

RESULTS: For environmental health, participants expressed an overall knowledge of key issues such as air quality and environmental health threats, but felt there were few ways to avoid negative environmental exposures. For reproductive health, participants highlighted that having previously fathered a child was a key to engagement in their own personal reproductive health status. Participants also were concerned about the potential for research misconduct and also expressed that cases of infertility were often met with stigma and a lack of community support. For health research recruitment, the major themes that emerged were the importance of incentives for motivating participation, relevant subject matter, and culturally sensitive recruiters.

CONCLUSION: It is important to engage men of color in a culturally relevant manner, and researchers can begin by better framing the health issues and educating on how various research topics relate directly to the African-American male community. For reproductive health research, concerns about the secure handling of their biological samples including sperm, mistrust of researchers, and the negative stigma toward male infertility in the African-American community all exist as potential obstacles to recruitment that have to be addressed. Researchers will have to use more effective recruitment strategies that include relatable recruiters, succinct proposals, and transparency in the research intent. Effectively engaging African-American males and targeting them for recruitment in all areas of research is essential for creating positive changes in health outcomes for the many ethnically and racially diverse members of the American population.

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Creative Commons License
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Presented at: GW Research Days 2016

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Attitudes toward Environmental and Reproductive Health among Men of Color

PURPOSE: African-Americans have been historically underrepresented in environmental and reproductive health studies. This lack of inclusive research participation threatens the validity of findings and weakens generalizability to potentially at-risk populations.

METHODS: The objective of this study was to use qualitative methods to explore attitudes toward reproductive health, environmental health, research participation and research recruitment. Three semi-structured focus groups were conducted with 24 African-American male participants, aged 25-64, recruited from the greater Washington, DC area. Data were analyzed using thematic content rooted in Grounded Theory.

RESULTS: For environmental health, participants expressed an overall knowledge of key issues such as air quality and environmental health threats, but felt there were few ways to avoid negative environmental exposures. For reproductive health, participants highlighted that having previously fathered a child was a key to engagement in their own personal reproductive health status. Participants also were concerned about the potential for research misconduct and also expressed that cases of infertility were often met with stigma and a lack of community support. For health research recruitment, the major themes that emerged were the importance of incentives for motivating participation, relevant subject matter, and culturally sensitive recruiters.

CONCLUSION: It is important to engage men of color in a culturally relevant manner, and researchers can begin by better framing the health issues and educating on how various research topics relate directly to the African-American male community. For reproductive health research, concerns about the secure handling of their biological samples including sperm, mistrust of researchers, and the negative stigma toward male infertility in the African-American community all exist as potential obstacles to recruitment that have to be addressed. Researchers will have to use more effective recruitment strategies that include relatable recruiters, succinct proposals, and transparency in the research intent. Effectively engaging African-American males and targeting them for recruitment in all areas of research is essential for creating positive changes in health outcomes for the many ethnically and racially diverse members of the American population.