1. What information is on this Consent form?
You are invited to participate in a study to understand how heat in the summer has impacted your health and community well-being over the past 2 years. This form explains the goals and objectives of our study and what you will be asked to do if you choose to participate. It also describes the way we (the Researchers) would like to use the information gathered. Being in this study is voluntary, and your alternative is not to participate.
2. Why is this study being done?
We are doing this research study to better understand people’s lived experiences of summertime heat in the community, the possible susceptibility of your household to heat’s effects on health, and how you and people in your household cope with summertime heat. The information we collect will be used to develop local projects that aim to reduce the harmful effects of summer heat and “urban heat islands” on community health. An “urban heat island" (UHI) refers to an urban or metropolitan area with hotter temperatures than a surrounding countryside or rural area. This UHI is caused by buildings, pavement, and other city features that absorb the sun’s rays during the day and re-radiate it at night. The urban heat island effect makes cities warmer than surrounding suburbs and countryside. Some urban neighborhoods can be warmer than others.
You are being asked to participate in this study because you live in Northern Manhattan, which is affected by New York City’s urban heat island. This extra urban heat can mean increased risks to the health of city-dwellers in summer. Heat illness ranges in severity. The mildest forms are heat rash and heat cramps. Heat exhaustion and fainting are slightly more serious but not life threatening if recognized and treated early. Heat stroke is the most serious form of heat illness, and can be fatal. A range of other illnesses of the heart, lung, and kidneys can also be worsened by extreme heat. About 400 people will take part in this study. We will survey Northern Manhattan residents with a specific focus on low income, NYCHA residents, seniors, and person with disabilities, living in Northern Manhattan. We will collect survey responses from November 2015 to November 2016.
3. What will I be asked to do if I choose to be in this study?
We will ask you to answer 30 survey questions, mostly multiple choice, using a tablet computer or your own computer. We expect this to take approximately 10 minutes of your time.
4. Are there any risks?
We do not think that there are any physical risks to taking part in this study. You can choose to skip any questions that make you uncomfortable.
A risk of taking part in this study is the possibility of a loss of confidentiality or privacy. Loss of privacy means having your personal information shared with someone who is not on the study team and was not supposed to see or know about your information. The study team plans to protect your privacy. Their plans for keeping your information private are described in section 6 of this consent form.
5. Are there any benefits?
You may or may not receive personal [direct] benefit from taking part in this study. The possible benefits of taking part in this study include future urban heat island reduction projects, which may lower summer temperatures in your neighborhood and help protect your health against heat-related illnesses.
Your participation may also help other community members in the future, since urban heat island reduction projects are especially beneficial to heat-vulnerable people (older adults, children, and people with heart, lung, and kidney ailments, among others, who are susceptible to heat-related illnesses). In addition to this we aim to use the results of this study to support the creation and support of systemic ways to reduce the urban heat island.