142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

Annual Meeting Recordings are now available for purchase

Predictors of response and mode of response in the Environmental Polymorphisms Registry (EPR) Health and Exposure Survey

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Tuesday, November 18, 2014 : 12:30 PM - 12:50 PM

Robyn Stephens , Health Sciences Research, Social and Scientific System, Inc., Durham, NC
Bekki Elmore, MPH , Health Science Research, Social and Scientific Systems, Durham, NC

The EPR was established by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences to facilitate genotype-driven translational research of complex diseases. More than 18,000 participants have enrolled over 12 years and provided a blood sample for genetic analyses. Contact information is updated annually. We recently administered a follow-up survey to participants to gather phenotypic data for future studies and seek to optimize response rates while minimizing costs for future surveys.


We targeted 15,257 active EPR participants for survey participation. To maximize response while minimizing cost, participants were invited to complete the survey first by web, then by mailed survey, and finally by telephone interview.  We calculated response rates by mode of administration and used bivariate analyses to examine variations in response by demographic factors.


Overall, 8,843 (58%) of those contacted completed the questionnaire. Among respondents, 97% chose the mailed (53%) or web-based survey (44%). Few participants (3%) completed the telephone survey after having the opportunity to respond via the web or mail. Response to the mailed survey was highest among minorities ages 55 and older (80%).


Despite up to 12 years between enrollment and follow-up, almost 60% of participants completed a questionnaire. Multi-modal data collection was beneficial, with two modes accounting for more than 97% of responses. Mailed surveys were particularly instrumental in reaching older minority populations. Telephone interviews contributed little to overall response, so we may consider prolonging web and mail-based approaches in the future and eliminating costly telephone interviews. Researchers working with similar populations should consider using enrollment data on response rate and modes of response by demographic and other factors to tailor approaches to mode of contact at follow-up to enhance response rates.

Learning Areas:

Diversity and culture

Learning Objectives:
Assess importance of implementing multi-modal data collection methods in survey implementation. Discuss use of response rate and mode of response data by demographics and other factors to tailor survey implementation. Discuss use of response rate and mode of response data by demographics and other factors to enhance survey response rates.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Ms. Davis Stephens is an efficient and organized clinical research professional with over ten years of experience in biological research including clinical research, clinical trials and project management. Experience includes over 14 years of strong client service skills involving stakeholders from government, academia, health care, industry and the general public.Ms. Davis Stephens currently serves as AI on the EPR Health and Exposure Survey protocol.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.