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Br J Gen Pract. 2006 May 1; 56(526): 378–379.
PMCID: PMC1837849

Discovering the research priorities of people with diabetes in a multicultural community

The paper by Brown et al1 is a much needed piece of research in an area that has been neglected by funding bodies in the past.1 However, despite its patient-centredness, it is still not truly ethnocentric — as far as readers could tell, the ethnicity of the ‘Asian’ focus groups was not clarified. As there are big differences between ‘Asian’ or ‘South Asian’ communities2 (usually defined as people originating from the Indian sub-continent), either of which should be defined in a paper, it is currently considered more culturally sensitive to identify groups by their own specified ethinicity.3,4 It would not alter the word count to use, say, ‘Pakistani’ instead of ‘Asian’ and is far more specific.

For me, this is a lesser issue than that of how we deal with the findings — for the last 25 years, black and minority ethnic communities complain that they are extensively researched, their needs are defined,5 but that nothing comes back to improve their situations. The current situation is still one of short-term funding for black and minority ethnic community projects, both research and service provision, with add-on monies to mainstream planning (for example, the Health Inequalities Fund of the Welsh Assembly Government initially offered 3 years' funding, then increased it by 2 more years and finally by 1 more year, but each time towards the end of the previously agreed funding period).6 In addition, research and academic institutions continue to have a major interest in molecular biology and laboratory-based research, so it is likely that the disparity between what patients say they want and what research produces, will continue.


1. Brown K, Dyas J, Chahal P, et al. Discovering the research priorities of people with diabetes in a multicultural community. Br J Gen Pract. 2006;56:206–213. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
2. Johnson MRD, Owen D, Blackburn C, Nazroo J. Black and minority ethnic groups in England: the second health and lifestyle survey. London: Health Education Authority; 2000.
3. Kaplan JB, Bennett T. Use of race and ethnicity in biomedical publication. JAMA. 2003;289(20):2709–2716. [PubMed]
4. McKenzie KJ, Crowcroft NS. Race, ethnicity, culture and science [editorial] BMJ. 1994;309:286–287. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
5. Webb P. Ethnic health project 1979/1980. R Soc Health J. 1982;102(1):29–34. [PubMed]
6. Welsh Assembly Government. Health Inequalities Fund. (accessed 10 Apr 2006)

Articles from The British Journal of General Practice are provided here courtesy of Royal College of General Practitioners