This piece was originally published on the Best Starts for Kids Blog.
Last fall and winter, almost 6,000 people participated in a survey to learn about the health and well-being of King County kids and families. The survey closed January 31st. Our data team has been hard at work crunching numbers and analyzing this data, and you’ll hear more about what we learned soon. However, there’s one thing we know already: the groundbreaking new methods we used in the Best Starts for Kids Health Survey lead the nation in ensuring our data reflects the strengths and needs of all King County kids and families.
A nation-wide panel of epidemiologists selected the Best Starts for Kids Health Survey for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) National Award for Outstanding Epidemiology Practice in Addressing Racial and Ethnic Disparities. Judges selected the Best Starts Evaluation Team’s work from over 900 applications based on its impact on efforts to eliminate health disparities, potential for creating long term change, and overall contribution to public health knowledge. Public Health’s Kristin Moore received the award at the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists’ Annual Conference last week.
“We wouldn’t have received this recognition of our equity-based work without the incredible efforts of our community partners, participation from parents and caregivers, and the entire Best Starts team,” says Eva Wong, Best Starts’ evaluation co-lead. “We are so grateful to everyone who played a role in making this survey a success.”
New methods reach more communities
King County is a diverse community with over 1 in 4 people who speak a language other than English. However, for a variety of reasons, white, higher-income, and English-speaking individuals are overrepresented in most surveys about health and well-being. This means we are missing critical information about health and well-being for some communities.
The Best Starts for Kids Health Survey prioritized new methods to meaningfully reach community members who aren’t often included in other studies, like those who speak a language other than English. These included offering the survey in 6 languages, and using bilingual, bicultural phone interviewers in addition to paper and online surveys.
These methods are working: survey participation more closely mirrors the genuine makeup of King County than other surveys. For example, 53% of all children 11 years old or younger in King County are children of color, and children of color represent 54% of Best Starts Health Survey participants.
Stay tuned for more data!
While other surveys tells us about middle and high school students, the Best Starts for Kids Health Survey is the first survey in King County to focus on what matters for families with elementary and very young children. The survey will help us understand the greatest strengths and needs for children across our diverse community, and set a baseline so we know that our efforts with Best Starts are working.
In the next few weeks, we’ll announce the first findings from the survey. Stay tuned!