Study members spread the word
As the BC Generations Project nears the end of its recruitment phase, our study members are leading the charge in encouraging other British Columbians to join the largest cancer prevention study ever conducted in the province.
Late last year, we sent out emails advising current participants that we’ll close our intake of new study members on March 31, 2013. We also asked them to help us by sharing some information about the study through their own social networks – letting friends, coworkers and family members know that they only have a few months left to join.
According to lead investigator Dr. John Spinelli, the response so far has been excellent. “As soon as we started contacting study members, we saw a marked increase in participation. Approximately 2,000 more people have come on board thanks to the efforts of our participants. We’re so grateful for this grassroots support for our research.”
Burnaby resident Taco Niet responded to the call for help. As an engineering instructor at the BC Institute of Technology, he was able to spread the word among hundreds of his colleagues on campus by posting a message to all staff.
“I joined the BC Generations Project as a way to contribute to my daughter’s future so that, hopefully, she can live her life without being impacted by cancer the way my father is,” he explains. “It takes very little time, but could have a huge benefit. That’s why I’m asking people to please consider joining.”
Data collection goes online
Since August, new participants to the BC Generations Project have been able to sign up and complete their baseline questionnaire completely online.
“Switching to the online process makes the project so much more efficient,” says Project Director Dr. Marilyn Borugian. “Not only do we save on printing and mailing costs, the data provided by participants can now go directly into our system, which reduces errors. Plus, people are reporting that the online system is easy to use and more convenient for them.”
Even if you didn’t initially join the Project online, you can expect to use the online data collection feature in the future to complete follow-up questionnaires.
A warm welcome across BC
One of the most successful recruitment methods for the BC Generations Project has been through our community assessment centres. In addition to our long-term assessment centre at the BC Cancer Research Centre in Vancouver, we have operated a series of pop-up locations in cities throughout BC: Kelowna, Prince George, Coquitlam, Victoria, Abbotsford, North Vancouver, Nanaimo and Kamloops.
Although attending an assessment centre appointment was an optional part of the intake process, we found that participants were eager to sign up and learn a bit more about their own health through a series of measurements that included blood pressure, body fat, grip strength and bone density. In total, 16,715 participants have attended an assessment centre appointment.
The eight pop-up assessment centres were made possible with funding from the BC Cancer Foundation. We thank them for their support!
28,599 British Columbians have joined the BC Generations Project. (at December 31, 2012) 64.9% of study members rate their health as excellent or very good. However, a significant percentage report one or more health conditions:
- 25% Arthritis
- 21% Hypertension
- 16% Cancer
- 11% Asthma
- 6% Diabetes
(At November 30, 2012)
What’s next for the Project?
Although we’re ending recruitment, we still have work to do in ensuring our data resource is as complete as possible. In the next two years, participants who haven’t yet given a blood and urine sample will be asked to provide one at a nearby lab. We also hope to obtain physical measurements from all those participants who didn’t attend an assessment centre.
All participants will be contacted to complete additional questionnaires over the next few years. Questionnaires relating to occupational and residential history (to evaluate environmental exposure), exercise, diet and mental health are planned.
Tell your friends before we close!
The BC Generations Project will end its recruitment phase on March 31. Please encourage friends, family and coworkers to contribute to the health of future generations by visiting our website at bcgenerationsproject.ca and joining online.
Our researchers don’t want to lose track of you! If you’ve changed your email address or if you’ve moved, please let us know by sending your new contact details to email@example.com or call 1.877.675.8221.