DOI: 10.1158/1538-7755.disp23-a052 ISSN: 1538-7755

Abstract A052: Perspectives of African immigrants on community health needs and clinical trials

Jocelyn Turner, Laureen Husband, Jessica Otero, Opeyemi Bolajoko, Parisa Fathi, Jennifer Crook, Folakemi Odedina
  • Oncology
  • Epidemiology


INTRODUCTION In the past decade, Jacksonville, Florida has seen an increase in African immigrants. However, little is known about their health needs and perspectives related to community health and clinical trials. The Mayo Clinic Comprehensive Cancer Center (MCCCC) Community Outreach and Engagement (COE) Office and Programs partnered with multiple community-based organizations as part of the FL Community Engagement Alliance Against COVID-19 to hold a series of focus groups with African immigrants to better understand their perspectives surroudning these determinants.  METHODS This was a qualitative study with African immigrants residing in Jacksonville, Florida. Data was collected by community partner, Jocelyn Turner Consulting, who has led multiple community-based studies in Florida. Recruitment was in partnership with African businesses and churches. Using a guide developed by MCCCC COE, three focus groups were held to explore African immigrants’ 1) general experiences, 2) access to social services, 3) perspective of community health and diseases, 4) access and use of healthcare services, 5) knowledge and participation in clinical trials, and 6) appropriate strategies for providing community education and enhancing participation in research studies.  RESULTS 24 participants participated in the focus groups. 83% had recently immigrated from Africa (Democratic of the Congo, Benin, Ghana, Sudan, Mali, Nigeria, Ethiopia, and Nigeria). The remaining 17%  recently immigrated from Haiti or came to the US as a baby. Participants reported suprise to the proliferation of chronic diseases, such as increased cancer diagnoses of those who immigrated to the United States. Most participants associated this with the Western sedentary lifestyle, dietary habits, and lack of access to fresh food. Participants connected to refugee organizations reported knowledge of the ability to access health education resources and mental/physical care services, but those not connected with similar organizations expressed limited knowledge about access. Similarly, participants with no connection to refugee organizations reported not knowing where to access healthcare services and not seeking services until home remedies had failed. Only 33% of participants reported knowledge of clinical trials and all reported mistrust of research. Many of the participants expressed a need for health-related information upon arrival in the United States. CONCLUSION There is currently little infrastructure in place to support African immigrants in Jacksonville, Florida, which can contribute to cancer health disparities in this population. Strong community engagement is needed to partner with African immigrant communities to address culturally specific needs identified of this underrepresented population. The needs expressed by participants include information on physical activity, nutrition, and healthcare/clinical trials. A strong partnership with African immigrant communities has the potential to address cancer disparities and increase both trust and participation in clinical trials.

Citation Format: Jocelyn Turner, Laureen Husband, Jessica Otero, Opeyemi Bolajoko, Parisa Fathi, Jennifer Crook, Folakemi Odedina. Perspectives of African immigrants on community health needs and clinical trials [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the 16th AACR Conference on the Science of Cancer Health Disparities in Racial/Ethnic Minorities and the Medically Underserved; 2023 Sep 29-Oct 2;Orlando, FL. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2023;32(12 Suppl):Abstract nr A052.

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