Frequently Asked Questions


Why did I receive a letter about the survey?

The Sinai Urban Health Institute, along with several community partners, is working with

The Survey Research Laboratory to conduct The Sinai Community Health Survey in 9 Chicago Community Areas. Your household was randomly selected to be included because you live in one of the 9 communities we will be surveying. The random selection process works like a lottery where every household has an equal chance of being selected. Once a household is chosen, we again use a random selection method to choose a household resident to participate. This helps ensure that our questionnaire is asked of representative mix of people from your community.


I didn’t receive a letter. Can I still participate?

Unfortunately, if you were not contacted by a surveyor or did not receive a letter, it means your household was not selected for the survey and you are not eligible to participate. However, we still need your help with:

  • Spreading the word about the survey to increase the number of selected residents who agree to participate, and

  • Collaborating in the development of policy and health interventions following the survey’s completion.


What is the survey about?

The Sinai Community Health Survey is a comprehensive population health survey which includes approximately 500 questions on child and adult health (see health topics). The purpose of the survey is to:

  1. To document the health status of selected community areas in Chicago

  2. To understand the social factors association with health-related behaviors, service utilization, and outcomes

  3. To use findings to develop public health interventions and policies to address health



Why should I participate? / How will my answers be used?

This survey will provide valuable health information about your community that is not currently captured by existing health surveys. Survey findings will help community members and researchers better understand the health status of your community and develop meaningful public health interventions and policies. We conducted a similar survey in 2002 that resulted in several community health programs, including programs for children with asthma and adults with diabetes. The 2002 survey has become very well-known in Chicago and a substantial number of positive events have occurred in direct response to survey findings. To read more, click here.


Will participating in this survey affect my benefits?

No, taking part in this survey will have no effect on your benefits or your relationship with any organizations.


What should I expect of the survey?

In-person interviews average 60 minutes and include questions about your daily life, general health, health conditions, diet, tobacco and alcohol use, sexually transmitted diseases, mental health, and access to and perceptions of healthcare. You may skip any questions you do not wish to answer. As part of the interview, the interviewer will ask for permission to measure your height, weight, and waist size. You may choose if you want to provide any of these measurements. There is also a second component to this interview. If you have at least one child in the household who is 12 years of age or younger, we will randomly select one of those children and ask you or another adult in the household who is most knowledgeable about that child’s health to answer additional questions about that child. These additional questions will take approximately 20 minutes.


How can I be sure that my answers will be kept confidential?

All survey information collected is strictly confidential. Your responses will be recorded with a code identification number only. There will be no information that would identify you as a participant in any of the published results. Participation is voluntary and you are free to stop the interview at any time. None of your information will be shared with anyone else. Your responses will be combined with other responses from your community and never shown individually, meaning your answers cannot be connected back to you personally.


Will I be paid to participate in this survey?

In exchange for your opinions about your health and the health of the community we will pay you $50. If you are eligible for and complete the child interview, you will receive an additional $25.


What are the risks and benefits of the survey?

There are no direct benefits to you from participating in this research. Survey findings will help community members and researchers better understand the health status of your community and develop meaningful public health interventions and policies.


If you choose to have your height, weight, and waist size measured, these measurements will be shared with you on a card for your records. No more than minimal risk is expected during this survey. Some individuals may experience discomfort when talking about various health and medical conditions. However there will be no medical or health interventions offered. All information obtained from the survey will remain strictly confidential.


Who is conducting The Sinai Community Health Survey?

The Sinai Community Health Survey is being conducted by researchers at The Sinai Urban Health Institute. The survey will be administered by professional interviewers from The Survey Research Laboratory.


When will the survey be conducted?

The survey will be conducted from Spring 2015 through Summer 2016.


Where will the survey be conducted?

The survey will be conducted in 9 Chicago Community Areas.


Will I be contacted again?

If you consent at the end of the interview, we will contact you for a follow-up wave of this survey a few years from now. You may decline that follow-up if you wish.


Who is paying for the research?

The survey is funded by The Chicago Community Trust.


Who should I contact with questions and comments about The Sinai Community Health Survey?

If you have any questions about the survey or would like to give us feedback, please contact the Project Director Jana Hirschtick at