Detail from "the second line," a painting by Bob Graham. For more about the artist, click here.

Online Program

Eliminating Health Disparities

Carmelita Grady, NORC at the University of Chicago 
Sheldonn Plummer, NORC 
Ashley Amaya, NORC at the University of Chicago 
*Jennifer S. Vanicek, NORC at the University of Chicago 

Keywords: community outreach, minority health

Society as a whole is plagued by many unsolved health problems, many of which occur disproportionately among minority and hard to reach populations. Often within communities of color, there exists a long standing mistrust of research, the government, and the medical profession as a whole. This mistrust makes it challenging for survey researchers to gain cooperation from individual respondents within these communities, resulting in lower response rates and higher nonresponse bias. To overcome these challenges, we implemented various types of community outreach on behalf of the Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health Risk Factor Survey (REACH U.S.) to improve cooperation among Haitians and Haitian-Americans in Boston and Native Americans in the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Outreach ranged from changes in introduction scripts within the survey to advertisements in local newspapers to site visits and community-specific outreach letters. Different outreaches were implemented in different years, when possible, to attempt to isolate the impact of each one individually. Qualitative and quantitative analyses will be used to determine if the community outreach had an impact on data collection results in hard to reach communities. We will review data collection results in the first four years (2009-2012) of data collection. For each outreach and each community, the previous year will be used as the control group and will be compared to the outreach year. Quantitative analyses will focus on whether or not this alternative type of outreach is effective at gaining cooperation, improving representation, and/or averting/converting refusals. Qualitative analyses will look at data from the outreach year and look at community feedback and call notes to evaluate the level of fear, racism, and/or perceived collaboration.

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