PHRESH FAQ

If you live in Pittsburgh's Hill District or Homewood neighborhoods, you may be eligible to participate in PHRESH. If your household participated in PHRESH in 2011, 2013, 2014, or 2015, you may be invited to participate in the 2016 phase.

Your participation will help us understand what issues are most important in your community. The results of the study will help improve communities locally and across the country.

What's new for PHRESH?

PHRESH 2016 is part of an ongoing research study that started in 2011. This year, we are looking at the health, exercise, and sleep habits of Hill District and Homewood residents. We are also looking at green space and parks, housing, and other neighborhood investments and their impact on health and well-being.

Who is conducting the project?

Researchers from RAND Health, part of the RAND Corporation, in partnership with Hill House Association, Operation Better Block, Inc., and the University of Pittsburgh's School of Social Work. The project is funded by the National Institutes of Health.

How will PHRESH benefit the Hill District and Homewood?

Although the Hill District and Homewood are distinct Pittsburgh neighborhoods, they have many things in common. In 2011 at the start of the study, they were both food deserts, or neighborhoods that lacked access to healthy food options. Because we wanted to understand the impact of opening a new full-service supermarket, it was important to look at changes in both neighborhoods over time. Both the Hill District and Homewood have similar population demographics, infrastructure, and about the same number of neighborhood parks and playgrounds. Looking at both of these neighborhoods helps us understand how changes in these factors affect residents' health.

PHRESH has two community advisory boards (one in the Hill District and one in Homewood). These boards are made up of local residents with a variety of backgrounds, as well as representatives from local businesses and community organizations.

We are committed to sharing what we learn so that the findings can directly benefit the Hill District and Homewood. We will also hold special town hall meetings with neighborhood residents to share our results and answer questions.

What do I have to do?

In the summer of 2016, we will be meeting with Hill District and Homewood residents to learn more about their exercise and sleep habits. You may be asked to:

  1. Complete a 45- to 60-minute in-person interview with a PHRESH staff member. The meeting can take place in your home, in our field office, or in a public place.
  2. Allow us to measure your height, weight, and blood pressure.
  3. Wear a watch-sized activity meter to measure your physical activity and sleep for seven days.
  4. Complete a daily sleep diary for the seven days that you wear the meter.
  5. Participate in a blood draw to test your blood sugar and lipids.
  6. Some participants may be asked to wear an overnight sleep-monitoring device to measure breathing while sleeping.

While you are wearing the activity meter and filling out the sleep diary, a PHRESH staff member will check in with you by phone to make sure things are going well and to see if you have any questions.

How will I benefit from participating?

PHRESH participants in 2016 will receive $100 for completing all components of the study and will be entered into a drawing to receive an additional $50. You will receive a portion of the total payment for each item you complete, and you can stop participating at any time.

How do I know the interviewer is from PHRESH?

  • PHRESH interviewers wear an ID badge that clearly shows they are part of the PHRESH project team.
  • Their shirts will also have the PHRESH logo.

If you are not sure or have any concerns, contact PHRESH field coordinator La'Vette Wagner at 412.586.5695 or La'Vette_Wagner@rand.org.

If you do not want the interviewer to enter your home, ask the interviewer to leave a brochure so you can call for an appointment to come to our office or to meet at another public place.

PHRESH interviewers will never insist on entering your home. They wait for you to invite them in.

Your safety is our concern.

Is participation confidential? What steps are taken to protect my personal information?

We will keep all information you give us confidential. We will not share your information with anyone outside the project, and your records will be labeled with an ID number instead of your name. Your responses will be combined with responses from other study participants, and your records will be destroyed after the study concludes.

Who can I contact if I have other questions?

If you have other questions, you can contact the field coordinator, La'Vette Wagner, at La'Vette_Wagner@rand.org or at 412.586.5695.

Activity Meter FAQ

What is an activity meter?

An activity meter is a small, lightweight computer device about half the size of a pager. It is worn on a Velcro band around the wrist. It measures your physical activity by counting the number of movements you make when you walk, run, jump, or do other activities. It also measures how much you move while you sleep. The activity meter only records your movements; it does not know what activity you’re doing, and it does not monitor your heart rate or location.

When do I wear the activity meter?

You will wear the activity meter 24 hours a day for the seven-day period. You should wear it even while sleeping and bathing. The activity meter should be worn over your clothes.

What if I forget to wear the activity meter or cannot wear it for seven days?


If you forget to wear the activity meter or are unable to wear it for seven days, call the PHRESH Field Office at 412.586.5695 for instructions.

Blood Draw FAQ

What is the blood-draw procedure like?

A trained PHRESH staff member will use a needle to draw a small amount of blood (around two teaspoons) from your arm. You may feel a slight pinch when the needle is inserted. In rare cases, people have experienced other side effects from a blood draw that your PHRESH interviewer will review with you. The procedure is the same as what your doctor would do in his or her office.

What are you testing for, and what happens to the blood sample after testing?

The blood sample will be tested for diabetes and heart disease risk factors, such as blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Your blood sample will be tested at the University of Pittsburgh and will be labeled with an ID number. It will not include your name or other identifying information. Only if you consent, it may be stored at the facility for future testing.

Sleep Diary FAQ

How does the sleep diary work?

For seven days, you will keep track of your sleeping patterns in a sleep diary. Each day, you will write down what time you went to sleep, what time you woke up, whether you took any naps, and whether you took any medications to help you sleep.