Person to Person Health Interview Study

Bringing the voice of the people to the Precision Health Initiative

While most of the Precision Health Initiative looks to the role our genes play in health, the Person to Person Health Interview Study recognizes that the impact of genetics on our health differs based on what people experience in their daily lives, where they live, and what they believe. Our study will generate a unique data set that links genetics and biology with the social and physical environment to allow researchers to connect the dots in ways that they have not been able to do before. This project aims to understand and improve the physical and mental health of Indiana residents. 

Each randomly selected household will receive an invitation by mail. Our field interviewers then follow up these invitations by visiting the home to personally invite one adult member of the household to participate in the study. This person will be randomly chosen to ensure that age and gender are representative of the Indiana population. 

Anyone with questions can call Hank Green at (812)855-6005 or Bernice Pescosolido at (812)855-6256.

Voluntary participation in the study can help IU researchers:

  • Determine the prevalence of key health issues across the state, including obesity, hypertension, heart disease, substance use disorders, mental health problems, diabetes, cancer, and more.
  • Learn about key health concerns and barriers to care for Indiana residents -- in their words and voices -- to help address the public health needs of Indiana.
  • Connect genetic risk factors and social conditions to disease outcomes.
  • Understand the public’s openness to precision health therapies (e.g., gene therapies, stem cell therapies), including fears and ethical concerns that may act as barriers to these therapies.
  • Study the association of possible exposure to environmental toxins at home or at work with an array of possible disease outcomes.
  • Investigate the extent of electronic health record coverage across the state with an eye toward improving enrollment and integration across healthcare systems.

How to participate

Your household has been randomly selected to participate in a groundbreaking study conducted by Indiana University called the Person to Person Health Interview Study. This study is part of Indiana University’s Precision Health Grand Challenge. 

We want to learn what you believe are the key health challenges facing communities like yours (for example, cancer, diabetes, addiction, mental health), what keeps people from getting the health care they need (for example, cost, transportation, finding the right doctor), and how the state and the medical system can work to make our communities stronger, healthier, and safer.

Maybe you have a family member or friend who has battled a serious disease or chronic condition? Perhaps you want to make sure that your children and grandchildren have the best available treatments to lead healthy, happy lives? Or maybe you want to be a champion for your community and its needs? Whatever the reason, it is important to be a part of our study. Residents we have interviewed in your area have found the interview easy to complete, interesting and enjoyable, and you will receive a cash incentive at the time of the interview as a thank you for your time.

We may have already stopped by your home to invite you to participate. If not, we will be stopping by soon! We hope you will agree to talk with one of our professional field interviewers for just a few minutes when they stop by to see who among the adults in your household is eligible to participate.  We can then schedule a separate time to conduct the actual interview. 

If you have a preferred time or place for our interviewer to stop by or if you have any questions about participating, please contact our study director Karen Tucker at 844-875-0057. If no one answers, please leave your name, complete address and a phone number and we will return your call promptly. The interview can be completed in the privacy of your own home or at another mutually agreeable location.

We hope you will consider participating and will let your voice be heard.

One of our field interviewers has come to your home to personally invite you to participate in our Person to Person Health Interview Study. The door hanger contains information that you can use to contact the interviewer directly to schedule a time for them to return to your home, describe the study to you, and invite a member of your household to participate. The door hanger also tells you how you can learn more about the study on the internet.

We hope you’ll reach out to your field interviewer and choose to let your voice be heard!

Our field interviewers will arrive in your neighborhood in vehicles marked with the Indiana University Trident.

They will have their IU credentials clearly visible to you as well as an endorsement letter from Indiana University and will be happy to answer any questions or put you in touch with their field manager for you to verify their identities. They will probably also have a pretty hefty backpack or duffel bag with them to carry all the papers and equipment they will need to conduct the survey should you choose to do so!

If you are still uncertain, feel free to contact local law enforcement. For your peace of mind and safety as well as ours, we notify them that we will be in the area collecting data.

If you take part in the study, you will be asked to do the following:

  • Give Health Information – The questions will be asked by a professionally-trained interviewer using a tablet computer in the privacy of your home or in an alternative setting that you can suggest. The questionnaire will take approximately 60-90 minutes and includes questions about your health, behaviors, and relationships with people in your life, illnesses and attitudes. In addition, you will give researchers the ability to see your medical record. You also have the option to respond to an extra 15-minute questionnaire that asks your opinions about drug abuse and addictions, and your social networks.
  • Allow audio recording of your responses to a few questions asking about your health conditions and personal health challenges, accessing health care for you and your family, and what the state of Indiana could do to make a difference in health care.
  • Give body measurements – You will allow a trained interviewer to measure your height, weight, waist/hip/neck circumference, oxygen level, pulse and blood pressure.
  • Give a saliva sample – Saliva will be collected in one plastic tube provided to you.
  • Two to four weeks after the study visit, you may be randomly selected and emailed a link to a 5-minute validation/verification web survey for quality control purposes.

Where we are collecting data

This map shows the counties where we are collecting data. The study team started in the central region of the state and has been expanding, recruiting households in northern Indiana and along the Ohio, Illinois and Kentucky borders. 

Location decisions were made based on clustering cases in areas with higher population, so we can maximize our resources but still create a data set that represents the state as a whole.

Engaging the community

Through newspapers, radio, and television, we are reaching out to communities across Indiana to inform them of our study, to describe our goals, and to give the opportunity for Hoosiers to let their voices be heard. We are working closely with the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute Community Health Partnerships program to facilitate outreach to all communities. We are also working with the Indiana University Center for Rural Engagement to strengthen our efforts in Indiana’s rural areas.

We will use these same channels to share the outcomes of our research when the time is right. We want you to know that your voices have been heard! Research findings will be communicated to the participants and the community via mechanisms including research briefs, news reports, blog posts and podcasts. The Community Health Partnerships team and the Center for Rural Engagement are collaborating with us to explore other opportunities to provide feedback that will keep Indiana communities informed of our activities and may help us change Indiana public health goals and strategies in the future.

Our goals for the future

This study will change the way healthcare is delivered in Indiana, ensuring that Hoosiers receive the best and most advanced medical care available. The information we learn will also contribute to changes in public health policies that, in collaboration with the Indiana State Department of Health, will improve the health of our communities for years to come.

We envision that a great deal of research will be conducted using these data across many academic disciplines and schools and our results will be presented across a wide range of outlets including conferences, workshops, peer reviewed and invited publications.

The participant group we establish will be a great resource for health researchers across the state. With appropriate resources this group can facilitate future genetic medicine research, behavioral research targeting high-risk populations, and other research that seeks to address Indiana's key public health concerns.

The participant group will also become an important resource for assessing Indiana’s knowledge of and readiness to adopt new types of medical treatments and could also serve as a means to gauge public opinion about health policy changes, future research strategies and other important health research concerns that would benefit from community opinion and input.

With the help of Indiana’s residents, we will be establishing a research infrastructure that will be incredibly valuable for existing and future medical research. Indeed, we believe that the relationships we create during this study will form the foundation for countless new research studies, from small to large, that will change the face of medicine and public health both locally and nationally.