The underrepresentation of African Americans in medical research is problematic for several reasons, including disparities in health outcomes, differences in metabolism of pharmacological agents, and accurate assessment of health needs and costs. This paper investigates factors contributing to African Americans' lower likelihood of consenting to participation in medical research. In Study 1, three focus groups were conducted to assess concerns about research participation and to generate further hypotheses for questionnaire development. Study 2 presented a hypothetical clinical trial and collected questionnaire data on attitudes about participation. Both studies revealed a greater likelihood to mistrust the medical establishment among African American students. However, suspicion did not contribute to a decreased likelihood of participation. Several recommendations are offered regarding the recruitment of African Americans in research.