Survey examines Rhode Islanders’ perceptions of barriers to health and well-being and targets health inequities, especially for communities of color
PROVIDENCE, RI (March 23, 2023) – Beginning March 26, Rhode Islanders will once again be asked at random to participate in a telephone survey for the annual RI Life Index. The perception-based survey is shaped by the RI Life Index Coalition, a group of 14 community and statewide organizations working through an equity lens to address social needs and improve health.
In 2019, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI) created the RI Life Index in partnership with the Brown University School of Public Health to better understand how residents perceive the impact of social factors on health outcomes and overall well-being. The annual survey results have significantly informed BCBSRI’s community investments and philanthropy.
“We are extremely grateful to Brown and our community partners, whose support has been critical in reaching this milestone anniversary of the RI Life Index. For the past five years, the Index has helped illuminate the concerns Rhode Islanders have about their health and well-being and the disparities that persist between our diverse communities,” said BCBSRI Executive Vice President, Chief Legal Officer & Chief Administrative Officer Michele Lederberg. “While the results can at times be disheartening, we remain steadfast in our commitment to the Index and to using it as our north star in guiding our community philanthropy, including $7 million that BCBSRI has invested in local affordable housing initiatives in direct response to the Index. The Index is only as strong as the collective voices of those who respond to it, so we urge you take part if you’re contacted.”
Since 2020, Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) have been oversampled, and special efforts will again be made to reach people who speak a language other than English at home. In addition to a random digit dial survey, data will be collected through computer-assisted personal interviews conducted in partnership with community-based partners who leverage their trusted relationships to include as many participants as possible. Last year, the critical support of partners Progreso Latino; Center for Southeast Asians; Dorcas International; and Higher Ground International. resulted in the completion of nearly 500 interviews in 14 languages.
“The RI Life Index provides important insight into the health challenges that Rhode Islanders face every day,” said Brown University School of Public Health Interim Dean Ronald Aubert. “By lending their expertise through the design and implementation of this survey, our faculty and staff ensure the results are meaningful and useful to funders, nonprofit partners, and policymakers. In turn, these local partners can develop targeted programs, services, and legislation that address issues like the high cost of housing, food insecurity, and the needs of older adults and children, which can make a real difference in our community.” Among other question topics in the 2023 survey are job opportunities, cost of living, racial equity, and access to mental health services.
Siena College Research Institute will once again conduct the random digit dial survey. Results are expected to be released to the community in fall 2023.
RI Life Index Coalition member organizations include AARP; BCBSRI; Brown University School of Public Health; Community Provider Network of Rhode Island; the Economic Progress Institute; HousingWorks RI; Latino Policy Institute; Lifespan Community Health Institute; Medical Legal Partnership Boston; Rhode Island Community Food Bank; the Rhode Island Department of Health; the Rhode Island Foundation; Rhode Island Kids Count; and United Way of Rhode Island.
For more information on the RI Life Index, the RI Life Index Coalition, and frequently asked questions, please visit RILifeIndex.org.