SCHENECTADY, N.Y. - The Schenectady Coalition for a Healthy Community (SCHC) introduced a community-based campaign for Schenectady County Thursday, "UMatter Schenectady."
The project seeks to identify health and social needs for each neighborhood in the county and build an action plan to address them.
Beginning Saturday, Feb. 23rd, SCHC will go door-to-door surveying about health and access to quality of care, also social support, education, employment, transportation and a safe, secure, place to live. Results will be anonymous.
Community Health Workers will visit a different city neighborhood every weekend for 12 weeks to conduct the 30-minute survey.
Survey results will be analyzed and shared with city residents who will be asked for their input.
The pilot project will first focus on the city of Schenectady, with the long term goal of extending the survey countywide.
The project is supported by a $100,000 grant from The Schenectady Foundation.
Q & A with NEWS10's Anya Tucker and Erin Buckenmeyer, the Community Health Outreach Coordinator for Ellis Hospital.
Q: Do I need to give my name?
A: No. It's anonymous. No names or addresses are attached to the survey.
Q: Where does the information go?
A: Ellis Hospital will analyze the data to find any disparities. All the results will be distributed to the community through Ellis Hospital's website and the partner organizations in this survey.
Q: What about HIPPA laws?
A: As long as they (survey-takers) do not connect a name on the survey there is no way they (residents) can be connected to this survey. All the community health workers have been trained in HIPPA laws. So, if they go to a home of a resident they happen to know, they are trained to know that all the information they collect can not be repeated once they leave that residence.
Q: Who are the survey takers?
A: Most are from Schenectady and have completed the Schenectady Community Action Program (a back to work program). Many are trained nurses aides. (they are getting paid).
Q: Why not just mail this survey out?
A: You have a lot of issues with response rates. You don't end up getting many back compared to the number you send out. We also want to have information from every city neighborhood. If we just sent it out we may get more from one neighborhood that another and that won't really give us the information that we are looking for. We want to compare needs in each neighborhood. Like, in one neighborhood the problem may be diabetes and in another it might be asthma.
Q: How did you come up with the questions in the survey?
A: The survey was developed by looking at other tested validated community surveys such as the "Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey". That's a survey that is administered by the New York State Department of health as well as a survey that was done in Chicago. It (the Chicago survey) actually found a lot of things. In one neighborhood the rates of asthma were much, much higher than in another neighborhood. So, that is really getting at the disparity.