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Open Access Highly Accessed Study protocol

The Survey of the Health of Wisconsin (SHOW), a novel infrastructure for population health research: rationale and methods

F Javier Nieto1*, Paul E Peppard1, Corinne D Engelman1, Jane A McElroy3, Loren W Galvao12, Elliot M Friedman1, Andrew J Bersch1 and Kristen C Malecki1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Population Health Sciences, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, Wisconsin, 53726, USA

2 Center for Urban Population Health, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 53233, USA

3 Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of Missouri School of Medicine, Columbia, Missouri, 65212, USA

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BMC Public Health 2010, 10:785  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-10-785

Published: 23 December 2010

Abstract

Background

Evidence-based public health requires the existence of reliable information systems for priority setting and evaluation of interventions. Existing data systems in the United States are either too crude (e.g., vital statistics), rely on administrative data (e.g., Medicare) or, because of their national scope (e.g., NHANES), lack the discriminatory power to assess specific needs and to evaluate community health activities at the state and local level. This manuscript describes the rationale and methods of the Survey of the Health of Wisconsin (SHOW), a novel infrastructure for population health research.

Methods/Design

The program consists of a series of independent annual surveys gathering health-related data on representative samples of state residents and communities. Two-stage cluster sampling is used to select households and recruit approximately 800-1,000 adult participants (21-74 years old) each year. Recruitment and initial interviews are done at the household; additional interviews and physical exams are conducted at permanent or mobile examination centers. Individual survey data include physical, mental, and oral health history, health literacy, demographics, behavioral, lifestyle, occupational, and household characteristics as well as health care access and utilization. The physical exam includes blood pressure, anthropometry, bioimpedance, spirometry, urine collection and blood draws. Serum, plasma, and buffy coats (for DNA extraction) are stored in a biorepository for future studies. Every household is geocoded for linkage with existing contextual data including community level measures of the social and physical environment; local neighborhood characteristics are also recorded using an audit tool. Participants are re-contacted bi-annually by phone for health history updates.

Discussion

SHOW generates data to assess health disparities across state communities as well as trends on prevalence of health outcomes and determinants. SHOW also serves as a platform for ancillary epidemiologic studies and for studies to evaluate the effect of community-specific interventions. It addresses key gaps in our current data resources and increases capacity for etiologic, applied and translational population health research. It is hoped that this program will serve as a model to better support evidence-based public health, facilitate intervention evaluation research, and ultimately help improve health throughout the state and nation.