Projects

Can home visits help in studying the aging process across diverse populations?

Bringing HANDLS into the home: Health Aging in Neighborhoods of Diversity Across the Lifespan Study (HANDLS)

Challenge

To help understand the relationship between race, socioeconomic status, and health outcomes, the National Institute on Aging (NIA) established the Health Aging in Neighborhoods of Diversity Across the Lifespan Study (HANDLS). Launched in 2004, HANDLS studies the changes in health over time of 3,720 African American and White adults from 13 neighborhoods in the Baltimore area.

As the study proceeded, however, some participants moved out of the Baltimore area, or experienced physical problems or mental decline. These changes prevented them from visiting the study clinic for follow-up health evaluations.

The potential for loss of valuable information about the aging process due to missed study visits was substantial. In order to continue collecting this valuable data, NIA developed a home visit program administered by Westat.

Solution

Westat hired and trained an exam team comprising a nurse practitioner and a psychometrician to perform

  • Biospecimen collection (blood, saliva, urine, toenails, skin swabs)
  • Comprehensive health history and physician exam
  • Cognitive measures
  • Extended audio computer-assisted self-interview (ACASI)
  • Resting EKG

The Westat coordinator traces and recruits participants, schedules visits, manages and communicates study results, and supports the participants and exam team. Each year, the Westat exam team conducts about 50 home visits throughout the U.S.

Results

Participants who are unable to go to the clinic can continue contributing to the study, which gives researchers and policymakers a more comprehensive understanding of the aging process as it relates to race and socioeconomic status.

Insights

Deep Dive with Our Experts

view all insights
  • Perspective

    APHA 2023 Recap of Westat’s Activities

    November 2023

    Westat staff made a strong impact on the 2023 American Public Health Association (APHA) Annual Meeting & Expo, held in Atlanta, Georgia, November 12-15, 2023!…

  • Perspective

    Westat @ APHA 2023

    November 2023

    We’re eager to join our public health colleagues at the American Public Health Association (APHA)’s 2023 Annual Meeting & Expo, in Atlanta, Georgia, November 12-15,…

  • Perspective

    Playing a New Role, States Set Visions for Summer Learning

    November 2023

    To counter pandemic-related learning loss, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) in March 2021 called on state education agencies (SEAs) and school districts to deliver…

How can we help?

We welcome messages from job seekers, collaborators, and potential clients and partners.

Get in Contact

Want to work with us?

You’ll be in great company.

Explore Careers
Back to Top