Public Deliberation as a Novel Method for an Exception From Informed Consent Community Consultation

Patricia E. Powers, Karen K. Shore, Susan Perez, Dominique Ritley, Nathan Kuppermann, James F Holmes Jr, Leah S Tzimenatos, Hiwote Shawargga, Daniel Nishijima

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objectives: Community consultation is required for clinical trials considering federal exception from informed consent (EFIC) procedures. Questions remain about the value of the community consult process and whether it adds intended protections to study subjects. Public deliberation methods that provide baseline participant education and elicit values and opinions about consent options is a novel approach for community consultation. This study evaluated the use of structured public deliberation methods to assess a community's values and opinions about informed consent procedures for a pediatric trauma trial. Methods: This was a mixed-methods descriptive study of public deliberation sessions assessing participants’ opinions about informed consent procedures for a pediatric trauma randomized controlled trial (RCT). Participants from communities with high rates of pediatric trauma were recruited via community-based organizations and social media. Deliberation focused on three consent options for a proposed RCT: 1) enrollment using EFIC procedures with no attempt to obtain informed consent, 2) enrollment using EFIC procedures after attempting to reach a parent, or 3) enrollment only with informed consent. Participant demographic data and their opinions about the proposed study and deliberative session were also collected. Results: There were 102 participants across eight sessions (range of nine to 15/session, mean of 13). Most participants were female (n = 78, 76%) and a plurality were black (n = 48, 47%). The majority of participants preferred enrollment using EFIC procedures only after an attempt was made to reach a parent and informed consent was not possible (n = 56, 55%), followed by enrollment using EFIC procedures with no attempt to obtain informed consent (n = 32, 32%), and enrollment only with written informed consent (n = 13, 13%). One participant declined all options. Eighty-four participants (82%) agreed or strongly agreed that the RCT was important to do, and 79 participants (77%) said that the sessions provided enough information to make an informed decision about the proposed RCT. Conclusions: Structured public deliberation is an effective approach when consulting communities for trials considering EFIC procedures. Future studies are needed to evaluate whether public deliberation methods provide participants with enhanced understanding of clinical trials compared to other community consultation methods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAcademic Emergency Medicine
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine

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