New Haven Health Survey

Completed more than 3600 surveys in six low-income New Haven neighborhoods

Every three years, CARE has conducted a survey to track neighborhood health, hiring local community members to complete door-to-door surveys with residents in six of New Haven’s low-income neighborhoods: Dixwell, Fair Haven, Hill North, Newhallville, West River/Dwight, and West Rock/West Hills. Households were randomly selected (like flipping a coin) from a list of addresses. In 2009, we completed 1,205 interviews; 1,298 in 2012; and 1,189 in 2015. Seventy percent of residents approached agreed to participate, answering questions about their health, diet, exercise, smoking habits, and neighborhood safety. CARE is dedicated to rapidly disseminating research results directly back to the community. After each survey cycle, CARE published reports and hosted large community forums immediately after completing data collection. For community reports about this work, please go to: New Haven Health Survey Reports.

 

Partnered with Data Haven on Community Wellbeing Survey

With input from Healthier Greater New Haven and others, DataHaven and CARE formed a partnership to develop and simultaneously conduct the DataHaven Community Wellbeing Survey in 2012 (>1200 residents in 13 cities and towns in the Greater New Haven region) and 2015 (>16,000 respondents across Connecticut). Coupled with CARE’s survey, these efforts collectively represent the largest and most comprehensive surveys ever conducted in our region and serve as the Community Health Needs Assessment for Yale New Haven Health. The purpose is to begin a story about opportunities and challenges that face the metropolitan region where we live, work, study, and play.  

 

Conducted asset mapping

In 2009, CARE collected data about the built environment as it relates to health in the same six neighborhoods, documenting features such as access to nutritious foods (e.g., stores and restaurants), street safety (e.g., sidewalks and crosswalks), and green space (e.g., parks and gardens). CARE hired local high school students to conduct the mapping through Youth@Work, a city program that provides work readiness development for urban youth. In seven weeks, youth collectively walked over 3,000 miles and collected nearly 500 data points! Employing youth as community health workers to collect data greatly enriched the community research process and offered many advantages. A documentary about the project was produced by the youth: 3,000 Miles and featured in the American Journal of Public Health.

 

Provided jobs for 60 New Haven-area residents and youth to
conduct this research.

CARE hired and trained local community members to collect data. We conducted intensive trainings on research and data collection. The temporary jobs provided research experience and built skills to obtain future positions. Surveyors enhanced outreach, gained trust, and paved the way for rapid survey completion.

CARE published 12 articles to date on this neighborhood-related research. This includes research on community organizing, race and place, impact of stigma, risk factors for chronic disease and mental health. A list of publications is available here.

New Haven Public Schools – Health for Achievement

CARE, along with the Rudd Center for Food Policy (now at the University of Connecticut), developed a strong partnership with the New Haven Public School District. Because schools provide concentrated contact with children, they are a model environment to facilitate health and support nutrition education and physical activity.

 

Health for Achievement is a 5-year study supported by the National Institutes of Health that examines the impact of health on academic achievement. With its partners, CARE has examined school-based policy interventions – through the district’s School Wellness Policies – focused on improving nutrition and physical activity. We use information collected from students, teachers, administrators and parents in 12 New Haven Public Schools to develop new policies and programs, raise awareness, and motivate positive health practices. Results have been disseminated locally and nationally, aiming to educate our communities and encourage better health for all students.

 

Through Health for Achievement, we have collected surveys and physical measures (height, weight, blood pressure, waist circumference) of more than 1,800 middle school students to examine their physical health, health behaviors, school and neighborhood environments. A randomized controlled trial in these 12 schools was conducted to support implementation of school wellness policies to improve the school health environment and reduce obesity and obesity-related risk factors among students across middle school (grades 5 through 8).

 

CARE has published 15 articles to date on this school-related research. This includes research on risk and protective factors for obesity and elevated blood pressure, use of the emergency room, smoking, bullying, breakfast consumption, sugar, sweetened beverages/ energy drinks, and the association between health and academic achievement. A list of publications is available here.

 

Data Consultations

 

CARE believes that data belongs to the community. CARE hosts monthly data meetings to review data and collaborate with partners on papers, reports, and other publications. If you are interested in using any of CARE’s data and collaborating on projects, please email Kathleen O’Connor Duffany.