Health Concerns, Research Experience and Perceptions of Research in Florida: Results from the 2014 Florida Consumer Sentiment Survey

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Publication Date: 
Monday, March 16, 2015

The goal of the UF Clinical and Translational Institute’s (CTSI) Community Engagement and Research Program (https://www.ctsi.ufl.edu/about/ctsi-programs/community-engagement-and-research/) is to promote collaborative relationships between community members, academics, and healthcare providers, in order to address the health and well-being of communities in Northeast Florida and beyond. To inform community engagement and research priorities, the UF CTSI assesses research experience, perceptions, and top health concerns among community members across its major stakeholder groups, with support from the Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) program.

In 2013, HealthStreet began to collaborate with the UF Bureau of Economic and Business Research to initiate a quarterly statewide assessment by adding three of its questions (i.e. research experience, perceptions, and top health concerns) to the 2014 Florida Consumer Sentiment Survey. In addition to these estimates at state level, we also estimated them in the Northeast Florida region (including Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Citrus, Clay, Dixie, Duval, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Lafayette, Levy, Madison, Nassau, Suwannee, Taylor, and Union counties) using data only from residents in these areas.

A total of 1,489 phone interviews were conducted in Florida during March, August, and November 2014 using the random digit dialing method. Among those, 178 interviews were conducted in Northeast Florida residents.

The results from this statewide survey were compared to the data from the HealthStreet (both Gainesville and Jacksonville sites) and the National Institutes of Health Sentinel Network.1

HealthStreet (http://healthstreet.phhp.ufl.edu/) is an innovative community-engagement program that aims to reduce health and research disparities by linking community members to social and medical services and opportunities to participate in research that is relevant to them. The Sentinel Network was a study of 5 US CTSA sites including Washington University in St. Louis; University of California, Davis; University of Michigan; Albert Einstein College of Medicine; and University of Rochester. In both the HealthStreet and the Sentinel Network, Community Health Workers assessed health concerns, conditions and research perceptions of community members.

Table 1 shows the demographic characteristics of participants across different studies/surveys. Participants in the Florida statewide survey were older than those in the HealthStreet and the Sentinel Network (Mean age=60.8 years for the statewide survey compared to 41.7 years and 42.0 years for the HealthStreet and Sentinel Network, respectively). Among the participants in the statewide survey, 48.8% were female, 9.7% were Hispanic or Latino, 8.0% were African American, and 77.8% were White. In addition, 92.8% of the participants in the statewide survey had at least a high school diploma. Participants in the Northeast Florida region were comparable demographically to those in the State-wide survey. However, compared to community members who participated in the HealthStreet and the Sentinel Network, participants in the statewide survey were more likely to be female, White, or have at least a high school diploma.

Table 1. Demographic Characteristics of Participants.

 

HealthStreet

(n=5,384)

HealthStreet Gainesville

(n=4,207)

HealthStreet Jacksonville

(n=1,177)

Sentinel Network

(n=5,979)

Statewide Florida Survey

(n=1,489)

Northeast Florida Survey

(n=178)

 

Number (%)

or Mean±SD

Number (%)

or Mean±SD

Number (%)

or Mean±SD

Number (%)

or Mean±SD

Number (%)

or Mean±SD

Number (%)

or Mean±SD

Age

41.7±15.6

41.4±15.7

42.7±15.2

42.0±15.6

60.8±17.6

60.0±16.7

Female

2,985(55.5)

2,375(56.5)

610(51.9)

3,524(59.4)

726(48.8)

81(45.5)

Hispanic/Latino

276(5.1)

238(5.7)

38(3.2)

1,001(16.9)

142(9.7)

8(4.6)

African American

3,322(61.7)

2,422(57.6)

900(76.5)

3,058(51.6)

116(8.0)

23(13.1)

White

1,524(28.3)

1,337(31.8)

187(15.9)

1,325(22.3)

1,136(77.8)

139(79.0)

Othera

263(4.9)

211(5.0)

52(4.4)

547(9.1)

66(4.5)

6(3.4)

High school diploma

4,200(78.3)

3,296(78.5)

904(77.5)

4,589(78.3)

1,370(92.8)

160(89.9)

aAlaska Native/Eskimo, American Indian, Asian, Middle Eastern, Pacific Islander, and Biracial/Multiracial populations.

Although the groups were different with respect to geography and demographics, they share many of the same health concerns. Table 2 shows the top 5 health concerns of community members across different studies/surveys. At the state level, these concerns include heart diseases, cancers, diabetes, muscle and bone diseases, and obesity and weight. In the Northeast Florida region, community members were more concerned about cancer, diabetes, heart problems, muscle and bone problems, and hypertensions. These results were generally consistent with the HealthStreet and the Sentinel Network.

Table 2. Top 5 Health Concerns of Community Members.

HealthStreet

(n=5,384)

HealthStreet Gainesville

(n=4,207)

HealthStreet Jacksonville

(n=1,177)

Sentinel Network

(n=5,979)

Statewide Florida Survey

(n=1,489)

Northeast Florida Survey

(n=178)

Hypertension

Hypertension

Hypertension

Hypertension

Heart

Cancer

Diabetes

Diabetes

Diabetes

Diabetes

Cancer

Diabetes

Muscle & Bone

Muscle & Bone

Dental Health

Cancer

Diabetes

Heart

Obesity & Weight

Obesity & Weight

Muscle & Bone

Weight

Muscle & Bone

Muscle & Bone

Cancer

Cancer

Cancer

Heart

Obesity & Weight

Hypertension

Community members also shared similar health research experiences across different studies/surveys. As noted in Table 3, around 8.7% (95% Confidence Interval [95% CI]: 7.3%, 10.2%) of the participants in the statewide survey reported being in a health research study, compared with 13.0% (95% CI: 8.4%, 18.9%) of the participants in Northeast Florida region reporting having been in a study.

Table 3. Health Research Experience and Perceptions of Community Members.

Experience or Perception

HealthStreet

(n=5,384)

HealthStreet Gainesville

(n=4,207)

HealthStreet Jacksonville

(n=1,177)

Sentinel Network

(n=5,979)

Statewide Florida Survey

(n=1,489)

Northeast Florida Survey

(n=178)

 

Number

% (95% CI)

Number

% (95% CI)

Number

% (95% CI)

Number

% (95% CI)

Number

% (95% CI)

Number

% (95% CI)

Has ever been in a health research study

852

15.8 (14.9, 16.8)

726

17.3 (16.1, 18.4)

126

10.7 (8.9, 12.5)

1,005

17.1 (16.1, 18.0)

129

8.7 (7.3, 10.2)

23

13.0(8.4, 18.9)

Interested in participating in research studies

4,915

91.3 (90.5, 92.0)

3,820

90.8 (89.9, 91.7)

1,095

93.0 (91.6, 94.5)

4,654

87.3 (86.4, 88.2)

542

36.9 (34.4, 39.3)

68

38.4(31.3, 46.0)

Note. CI = confidence interval.

However, there were significant differences in research perceptions across different studies/surveys. While only 36.9% (95% CI: 34.4%, 39.3%) and 38.4% (95% CI: 31.3%, 46.0%) of the participants in Florida and Northeast Florida region reported being interested in participating in research, respectively, about 90% of the respondents in the HealthStreet and Sentinel Network were interested in participating in studies. This substantial difference may due to the fact that the statewide survey was conducted by phone interview, while all participants in the Sentinel Network and the HealthStreet were interviewed face-to-face by Community Health Workers.

In summary, this statewide survey found that heart diseases, cancers, diabetes, muscle and bone diseases, obesity and weight problems were among the top five health concerns of community members in Florida in 2014. In addition, fewer than one in 10 people had ever been in a health research study, and less than 40% of people were interested in participating in research studies in Florida.

[1] Cottler LB, McCloskey DJ, Aguilar-Gaxiola S, et al. Community needs, concerns, and perceptions about Health Research: findings from the clinical and translational science award sentinel network. American journal of public health. 2013;103(9):1685-1692.

CORRESPONDENCE:  Dr. Linda B. Cottler, Department of Epidemiology, College of Public Health and Health Professions and College of Medicine, University of Florida, Room 4240B, 2004 Mowry Road, Gainesville, FL 32610 (e-mail: lbcottler@ufl.edu

POSTED:  March 5, 2015

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