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Phone survey of Rhode Islanders’ perceptions of barriers to health and well-being to start soon

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Phone survey of Rhode Islanders’ perceptions of barriers to health and well-being to start soon

Feb 26, 2024 | 6:52 pm ET
By Alexander Castro
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Phone survey of Rhode Islanders’ perceptions of barriers to health and well-being to start soon
Description
The 6th annual RI Life Index by Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island & Brown University School of Public Health launch will assess health inequities in diverse communities. (Canva photo)

How do Rhode Islanders understand their own quality of life? 

That’s one of the main questions behind the RI Life Index, a telephone-based survey that randomly selects respondents to speak their mind on topics like housing, the cost of living, child care and other so-called “social determinants” of health. 

Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI) and the Brown University School of Public Health teamed up to create the Index in 2019, in hopes of tracking statewide attitudes on social and economic contributors to health. BCBSRI also uses the survey results to guide their philanthropic efforts — including roughly $8 million worth in affordable housing initiatives so far, according to a news release issued Monday.   

Calls in both English and Spanish for the 6th annual RI Life Index survey will occur from early March through May. A method called random digit dialing is used to select participants. Results are expected to be released in the fall. The Siena College Research Institute is responsible for conducting the surveys. 

“The RI Life Index is strategically designed to capture the voices of ALL Rhode Islanders by ensuring that we hear from people of color, underrepresented urban neighborhoods, and other traditionally marginalized groups,” said Michele Lederberg, BCBSRI executive vice president, chief legal officer & chief administrative officer in a news release. “We urge you to take part if you’re contacted so that the Index continues to reflect the collective voices of our diverse communities.”

It’s not just Brown and Blue Cross interested in the data: a 14-member coalition of local health, policy and advocacy organizations help to brainstorm solutions to problems and trends that pop up in the data.

There were 2,317 respondents in the 2023 survey. Brown’s School of Public Health noted that community-based organizations fielded 582 surveys in 16 languages.

Perceptions are scored on a 100-point scale, with higher numbers more positive. Cost of living had the most negative perception last year, scoring only 23 points on the 100-point scale. Much higher was the top-scoring category of food security: 81 points, although in some demographics it scored lower. Among Latinx Rhode Islanders younger than 55, it scored 62 points. 

Overall, Rhode Island scored 58 points on the index across issues. Full results from past surveys can be viewed at the RI Life Index website