The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA

4090.0: Tuesday, November 12, 2002 - Board 7

Abstract #39693

Using technology to improve retention rates among a transient population

Joy M. Settembrino1, Don C. Des Jarlais1, and Theresa Perlis, PhD2. (1) National Development and Research Institutes, Inc., 71 West 23rd Street, 8th Floor, New York, NY 10010, 646-602-0409,, (2) National Development and Research Institutes, Inc, 71 West 23rd Street, 8th floor, New York, NY 10010

Background: Every Spring transient drug-using youth from across the U.S. arrive in New York City's Lower Eastside (LES) area. Longitudinal research with this population has typically proved difficult due to lack of contact information, complicated by their nomadic lifestyle. Methods: A cohort of highly-transient young drug users with prior year travel to ³5 cities was street-recruited through outreach and peer referral for baseline interview in our LES research storefront. Subjects were intensively prepared to maintain telephone contact by the establishment of a strong relationship with staff during intake. The storefront lounge was equipped with art supplies and computers for internet access; subjects were encouraged to repeatedly use the facilities during their NYC sojourn. Staff also helped them to establish email accounts. Two brief in-person interviews shortly after intake enriched the bonding process. Subsequent monthly interviews were scheduled, with a longer interview approximately 6 months post-baseline. Project "ID" cards displaying the toll-free number and individual debit cards (E-Cards) were issued at intake. Payments credited to E-Cards immediately upon completion of in-person or telephone interviews were available for same-day withdrawal from ATMs country-wide. Results: 95% have completed at least one follow-up interview. Almost 80% of those due have completed 6-month interviews. Over 20% have had ³8 follow-up interviews. Telephone call-ins came from approximately 120 different cities. Conclusions: Implementing a long-distance telephone interview system for following mobile populations is practical. Developing strong relationships at the outset, and a prompt, convenient compensation method are critical. E-Cards are user-friendly both for staff and respondents.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Special Populations, New Technology

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Improving Treatment Services to At-Risk Populations Poster Session

The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA