Silver Spring organization conducts Marylandwide health survey -- Gazette.Net



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Maryland residents might get phone calls on their landlines and cellphones from Abt SRBI, a research and survey organization in Silver Spring, for the remainder of this calender year and again in 2016.

Under a $1.9 million contract with the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Abt SRBI is conducting an anonymous adult random-digit dial telephone survey in all of Maryland’s 23 counties to collect data on tobacco use and chronic diseases.

“The Maryland Healthier Communities Survey is an expanded tool designed to collect data on a variety of risk behaviors including tobacco use and chronic diseases such as heart attacks and strokes, hypertension, diabetes, respiratory diseases, obesity and overall physical and mental health,” Dawn Berkowitz, the director of DHMH’s Center for Tobacco Prevention and Control, said.

The survey questionnaire is currently under development, but specific questions will be modeled after Center for Disease Control and Prevention surveys. The survey questions will explore topics such as general health, health conditions, cigarette smoking behavior, the use of electronic cigarettes, opinions of tobacco and general demographic information.

“All the questions have the objective of obtaining a comprehensive understanding of how tobacco use and other behaviors impact the health of communities throughout Maryland,” Marilyn Wilkinson, research director of the project, said.

Ultimately, the data from these surveys will help Maryland communities evaluate their chronic disease and tobacco-cessation health programs.

The Maryland Marketing Source, a market research organization, will partner with Abt SRBI by letting the research organization use its Baltimore call center to conduct the telephone interviews. Maryland Marketing Source employees will participate in telephone interviewing.

“Maryland Marketing Source will participate in the telephone interviewing together with Abt SRBI to obtain the survey data following the protocols to ensure high quality, representative data,” Wilkinson said.

Adults who receive phone calls but do not wish to participate in the survey do not have to.

Abt SRBI hopes to interview more than 19,000 Maryland adults by the end of 2016.

ebirnbaum@gazette.net