ObjectiveAfrican-Americans have the highest rate of colorectal cancer deaths. Adherence to colorectal cancer screening guidelines can improve outcomes. The objective of this study was to evaluate physician trust and barriers to screening utilizing a unique bi-directional learning focus group involving African-American adults and health care learners. MethodsA focus group of African-American adults from a community church and university health care learners was conducted to identify colon cancer screening barriers. Health care learners were medical students, resident physicians and gastroenterology fellows. Pre-focus group surveys, including the Wake Forest Physician Trust Scale (WFPTS) and a colon cancer screening knowledge survey, were administered. Audio recording of the focus group was transcribed with subsequent thematic analysis. A post-focus group survey evaluated the colorectal cancer screening barriers identified during the focus group. Analysis of pre- and post- focus group surveys was performed using Fisher Exact test with significance set at p<0.05. ResultsThe focus group consisted of 18 members (7 African-American community members, 11 non-African American health care learners). WFPTS revealed that 83% (86% community members, 82% health care learners; p = 1.0) strongly agree / agree that their physician would advocate for their health. 77% (86% community members, 73% health care learners; p = 1.0) strongly agree / agree that they trusted their physician. 100% recognized that colon cancer screening is recommended. The focus group identified lack of awareness (81%), colonoscopy preparation (81%), trust in physician (60%), lack of insurance coverage (56%), transportation (56%), colonoscopy wait time (50%), insufficient physician discussion (50%) and fear of procedure or cancer (35%) as screening barriers. Post-focus group surveys revealed that community members more frequently identified racial disparity in health care (p = 0.0474), physician respect toward patients (p = 0.0128) and insufficient physician discussion (p = 0.0006) as screening barriers. ConclusionsFocus group discussion identified multiple barriers for colorectal cancer screening. Notably, differences in the perceptions of African-American community members and non-African-American health care learners about racial disparity in health care, physician respect toward patients and insufficient physician discussion were revealed. The integration of bi-directional focus group learning can be considered as a potential strategy to assist in the development of focused screening interventions.

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