A minority group can be identified by an ethnic, racial, religious, gender, or sexual orientation identity. The literature provides evidence that minorities are more likely to experience health disparities, discrimination, and lack access to social and health resources during disasters and conflicts.
When conducting research in crises, understanding the priorities of minority groups is an important ethical consideration. Because minorities often experience other types of vulnerability, such as poverty or systemic racism, research protocols should be cognizant of existing disparities and how disasters may have exacerbated those conditions. One way this is accomplished is by community engagement between researchers and minority populations before, during, and after events. For instance, consulting with community advisory boards (CABs) is an effective way to build trust between researchers and minority populations. Collaborating with community representatives can unearth the types of research that the community sees as most beneficial. In order to be culturally sensitive toward a minority population, researchers should consider the appropriateness of data collection methods and how data is used by eliciting feedback from participants and community representatives. When appropriate, utilizing participatory, community-engaged research methodologies can help to forge a relationship of trust with minority populations and mitigate discrimination. Community engagement helps facilitate a stronger consent process, one that is truly informative, transparent, and attenuated to the cultural ways of knowing, including language issues. One unique ethical concern in places where multiple minorities co-exist, for example, in a refuge camp, is unknowingly excluding certain minority groups by relying on only a few community representatives for recruitment as they may only recruit from their identified group. Finally, health and genetics research with ethnic and racial minority populations requires a robust ethics approach, considering not only issues of privacy and confidentiality, but also data ownership, disease stigmatization, and perceptions of identity.
Which of the following are features of your study?