Blue Cross, Brown School of Public Health kick off 5th annual RI Life Index survey

PROVIDENCE – Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island and the Brown University School of Public Health have launched the fifth annual RI Life Index, a survey of Rhode Islanders’ perceptions of their quality of life.

Survey participants, chosen at random, will be asked about various health and social issues in their communities, including affordable housing, economic mobility, access to food and food security, discrimination and access to medical care. Among other question topics in the 2023 survey are job opportunities, cost of living, racial equity and access to mental health services.

“We are extremely grateful to Brown and our community partners, whose support has been critical in reaching this milestone anniversary of the RI Life Index. For the past five years, the index has helped illuminate the concerns Rhode Islanders have about their health and well-being and the disparities that persist between our diverse communities,” said Michele Lederberg, executive vice president, chief legal officer and chief administrative officer at Blue Cross.

The random digital survey, which will ask Rhode Islanders to participate in a telephone survey, is conducted by Siena College Research Institute. For the 2022 index, more than 2,000 individuals were surveyed. Results are expected to be released to the community in fall 2023.

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“While the results can at times be disheartening, we remain steadfast in our commitment to the index and to using it as our North Star in guiding our community philanthropy, including $7 million that BCBSRI has invested in local affordable housing initiatives in direct response to the index,” Lederberg said. “The index is only as strong as the collective voices of those who respond to it, so we urge you to take part if you’re contacted.”

Supported by the RI Life Index Coalition, a group of 14 organizations statewide that are working to improve community health and address social needs, the survey targets health inequities, oversampling people of color, along with those who do not speak English at home. In addition, community-based partners will be collecting data through computer-assisted personal interviews.

Last year, with the support of partners Progreso Latino, Center for Southeast Asians, Dorcas International Institute of Rhode Island, and Higher Ground International, nearly 500 interviews in 14 languages were conducted.

“The RI Life Index provides important insight into the health challenges that Rhode Islanders face every day,” said Ronald Aubert, interim dean of the Brown University School of Public Health. “By lending their expertise through the design and implementation of this survey, our faculty and staff ensure the results are meaningful and useful to funders, nonprofit partners and policymakers. In turn, these local partners can develop targeted programs, services and legislation that address issues like the high cost of housing, food insecurity and the needs of older adults and children, which can make a real difference in our community.”

Claudia Chiappa is a PBN staff writer. You may contact her at