AJOB Primary Research.

Ethics and Community Involvement in Syntheses Concerning American Indian, Alaska Native, or Native Hawaiian Health: A Systematic Review

Background: The objective of this research was to review reporting of ethical concerns and community involvement in peer-reviewed systematic reviews or meta-analyses concerning American Indian, Alaska Native, or Native Hawaiian (AI/AN/NH) health. Methods: Text words and indexed vocabulary terms were used to query PubMed, Embase, Cochrane Library, and the Native Health Database for systematic reviews or meta-analyses concerning AI/AN/NH health published in peer-reviewed journals, followed by a search through reference lists. Each article was abstracted by two independent reviewers; results were discussed until consensus was reached. Results: We identified 107 papers published from 1986 through 2012 that were primarily about AI/AN/NH health or presented findings separately for AI/AN/NH communities. Two reported seeking indigenous reviewer feedback; none reported seeking input from tribes and communities. Approximately 7% reported on institutional review board (IRB) approval of included studies, 5% reported on tribal approval, and 4% referenced the sovereignty of AI/AN tribes. Approximately 63% used evidence from more than one AI/AN/NH population study, and 28% discussed potential benefits to communities from the synthesis research. Conclusions: Reporting of ethics and community involvement are not prominent. Systematic reviews and meta-analyses making community-level inferences may pose risks to communities. Future systematic reviews and meta-analyses should consider ethical and participatory dimensions of research.

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Volume 5, Issue 2
April 2014