Preventing Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms in Women (PLUS) Research Consortium held Successful Training at UIC School of Public Health
On May 15-16, 2017 Preventing Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms in Women (PLUS) Research Consortium held a focus group moderator training at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) School of Public Health (SPH). PLUS is a long-term research study funded by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease (NIDDK) to better understand risk and protective factors of bladder health. It launched in 2015 by designing qualitative focus groups focus guides entitled the Study of Habits, Attitudes, Realities, and Experiences (SHARE). These focus groups will eventually inform qualitative surveys and ultimately longitudinal studies. John Connett, from the University of Minnesota mentioned, “Everyone is familiar with the Framingham study that started in 1948 when little was known about cardiovascular diseases. What makes this PLUS incredible is that we are at the beginning of what could be an equally long and informative study for women’s bladder health.”
This research on women’s bladder health is in line with the focus of prevention at the UIC School of Public Health. The principal investigator at UIC, Dr. Hebert-Beirne mentioned, “We only have research about women who present with bladder problems. Little is known about how to prevent bladder problems or what promotes a healthy bladder.”
The training of focus group moderators in May 2017 here in Chicago was a success. One focus group moderator, Anna Baccellieri, stated, “My expertise is in qualitative semi-structured interviewing. I learned so much about how to keep a group engaged from this training.” Over 40 women from around Chicago volunteered their time as mock focus group participants. They also enjoyed their experience. One volunteer mentioned after the mock focus group, “The moderators made me feel so comfortable. I was able to tell them things about my bladder that I have never told anyone before.”
This nation-wide collaborative project utilizes seven participating research sites including: UIC/Loyola in Chicago, University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Washington University in St. Louis, University of Alabama in Birmingham, University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, University of California in San Diego, and Yale in New Haven.