If you get a knock on your door from researchers who want to take your blood pressure, you’ll be doing a good deed if you let them in. Lindsay Heights residents are being selected at random to participate in a health survey conducted by the Survey of Health in Wisconsin (SHOW) and the Lindsay Heights Neighborhood Health Alliance (LHNHA). The goal is to gather information from 75 neighborhood residents in the next several weeks.
Residents who agree to participate will answer questions about their health and lifestyle and undergo a few simple measurements, including blood pressure, height, weight, and waist and hip size. SHOW field team personnel, along with community researchers, will conduct the survey and basic assessments in the resident’s home. All results will be anonymous.
Participants who are agreeable also will have blood drawn and provide a urine sample at the SHOW offices in the Aurora Sinai Medical Center on 12th and State.
Using three researchers hired from the community is just one of the unique aspects of this project, according to Jessie Tobin, LHNHA program manager. SHOW is working with a number of areas across Wisconsin, but the Lindsay Heights project is the only one with a community-based participatory research aspect.
“We know that our neighbors and residents bear a disproportionate burden of certain health issues,” Tobin said. “One of our goals is to ensure that …support is there to help all Lindsay Heights residents reach their full health potential,” she said.
Another innovative aspect of the project will be to follow up with participants to help them connect to needed medical resources, according to Tobin. LHNHA is partnering with the Bread of Healing Clinic and Aurora Family Care Center to offer services to survey participants.
Tobin said selecting participants randomly is very important.
“From our early work in just the first weeks, we have already reached neighbors and we’re hearing voices and health concerns of people who we otherwise wouldn’t have a chance to hear from,” Tobin said. “So far, we’ve been very well received.”
A third unique aspect of the SHOW project is the development of a community research council, which will be launched in the fall once the survey is completed. Part of the council’s role will be to provide a community voice in guiding health-related projects.
The council will be informed of the results and will help determine action steps, Tobin said. It also will help decide how to share survey results with the Lindsay Heights neighborhood.
“It’s very important that we disseminate what we learn back into the community,” Tobin said. This will be done in a number of ways, including a newsletter.
Lindsay Heights Neighborhood Health Alliance partners will receive survey results and be given information to distribute, Tobin said. For example, Fondy Food Center will get information on nutrition and the YMCA will have information on fitness programs, she said.
Danielle Washington, one of the community researchers, summed up her enthusiasm for the SHOW project this way: “The people in the community want to help the community.”