Health surveyors head to SuperiorPublic Health researchers are coming to Superior next week to gather information about the community and the health of local residents. The Survey of the Health of Wisconsin — commonly referred to as SHOW — has been gathering health information in the area and statewide since 2008.
By: Shelley Nelson, Superior Telegram
Public Health researchers are coming to Superior next week to gather information about the community and the health of local residents.
The Survey of the Health of Wisconsin — commonly referred to as SHOW — has been gathering health information in the area and statewide since 2008.
“We collect a sample of the population of Wisconsin each year,” said survey spokeswoman Mary Farrell-Stieve. “We try to hit all corners of the state in each season. We have been in the Superior area before, the last time earlier this winter. We began collecting data in 2008 so we are five years into the survey.”
The survey researchers are building a database of information for researchers and community planners to use when looking for ways to combat health problems in Wisconsin.
According to Farrell-Stieve, SHOW research has been used in studies on the effect of the smoking ban on smoking behavior, health literacy and its effect on prevention behavior, health care access in rural and urban environments, economic hardship and health, occupational shift work and health, oral hygiene, and more. SHOW has also done more focused studies for clients such as Wood and La Crosse counties for their “Get Active” Obesity Prevention Campaigns, she said.
Each time researchers come to Superior, they are asking a new group of people to take part in the survey, Farrell-Stieve said. People who have taken part in the survey in the past are given the chance to take part in the longitudinal study, a study of health over time. These participants will be called in the future for follow up on the general SHOW survey and individuals may be called and asked if they want to take part in follow up studies on specific research topics, she said.
Dr. F. Javier Nieto, director of SHOW, envisions “… the information SHOW collects through the years will play an important role in monitoring the health of Wisconsin people, and in guiding community and statewide health services.”
To achieve that vision, in 2013 SHOW researchers will visit 36 neighborhoods around the state collecting information from rural, suburban and urban areas from Wisconsin’s northern shores to its southern border. Information is collected also to represent each area of Wisconsin across the seasons so the survey looks at the ways weather and temperature affect our diet and our activity levels.
Thirty-six households were selected to take part in the upcoming survey in Superior.
“These households have received letters and postcards inviting them to take part,” Farrell-Stieve said. “When the survey team is in Superior, they will be calling on these 36 households and inviting people between the ages of 21 and 74 to take part in the survey.”
SHOW researchers will be visiting Superior the weeks of March 25, April 8 and April 22, with most of the survey work done Tuesday-Thursday each week.
Participants are encouraged to call for appointments, and if Monday or Friday are best for them, the team makes sure they honor those appointments, said Farrell-Stieve.
“We love when participants call and set up appointments but the majority of our invited households do not call,” she said. “This means the survey team spends a fair amount of time trying to make contact with the households.”
Households are selected for the study based only on a list of addresses.
The result is a database that describes Wisconsin as people are today; and gives us a way to watch as we change in the future. SHOW provides the tools we need to measure our efforts to make Wisconsin healthier in the future.
Some of the changes we make will begin because of information learned in the SHOW survey. Some existing programs will be improved because of information found in the surveys.
“This survey will make us better equipped to …. make Wisconsin healthier than ever,” said Dr. Henry Anderson of the Division of Public Health.
SHOW is funded by the National Institutes of Health’s Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and by the Partnership for a Healthy Future. SHOW is a research project from the UW School of Medicine and Public Health expanding the boundaries of health science through research.