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Public participation and health equality in future biobanking 
Joy Zhang (University of Kent)
Camille Serisier (University for the Creative Arts)
Jill Shepherd (University of Kent)
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Combined Format Open Panel
Tuesday 16 July, -
Time zone: Europe/Amsterdam
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Short Abstract:

Persistent difficulty engaging minorities in biobanking necessitates methodological innovations and a recalibration of priorities. Our panel welcomes research papers, visual exhibits, and creative demonstrations for broader public involvement in advancing biobanks as a catalyst for health equity.

Long Abstract:

Equitable public health outcomes hinge not only on robust infrastructures of bioeconomy, policy framework and competitive innovation work force, but also on the quality of participation from diverse communities. The ascendance of data science and AI-assisted medical research has prompted numerous nations to intensify their strategic policies and investments in fortifying the capabilities of biobanks.

However, it has also underlined a persistent failure to mobilise minority groups or marginalised communities into actively contributing to and, subsequently benefit from structural and scientific advantages. For example, in the UK, the racial disparity of donors for biobanks and its immense health impact has been characterised as a ‘Silent Crisis’ in public health. Yet ethnic-specific initiatives, while motivating community donations and specialised registries, can also reinforce racial distinctions, further perpetuating the racialisation of biomedicine that has historically deterred engagement among ethnic minority groups.

There is a pressing imperative for methodological innovations and a thoughtful recalibration of priorities to transform how health institutions and professionals engage with minority groups or marginalised communities. This is essential to evoke trusting and reciprocal partnership between minority/marginalised communities and health establishments to curate a biodatase that is inclusive and equitable for future collective health.

Co-convened by a sociologist, a natural scientist and an artist, this panel is at the confluence of creative methods for science communication, the democratization of science, and participation research within the broader domain of biobanking. It fosters the examination of theoretical underpinnings pertaining to imperative transformations, the practical means to actualize them, and empirical insights concerning the organisation and delivery of these transformative endeavors.

We invite conventional paper presentations, visual exhibitions or photography displays, as well as brief demonstrations of alternative creative methods that foster broader public engagement in advancing biobanks as a catalyst for health equity.

Accepted contributions:

Session 1 Tuesday 16 July, 2024, -