Frequently Asked Questions

1. Who will be recruited?

We are recruiting adult Chicago residents who are 35 years of age or older, speak English, and are U.S. citizens or permanent residents. We will recruit approximately 10,000 participants in the initial phase of the project and will eventually expand the study to include up to 100,000 residents.


2. What is the purpose of COMPASS?

COMPASS is designed to provide data on a variety of environmental and biological factors that may influence the risk of cancer and other chronic diseases. The data will be used to develop improved strategies for disease prevention and treatment.


3. Who is conducting the study?

The study is being conducted by the University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center. COMPASS is run by Principal Investigators Habibul Ahsan, MD, Michelle Le Beau, PhD, and their colleagues.


4. Who is funding the study?

The University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center is sponsoring this study. After the initial phase of recruitment, we will seek support from the National Institutes of Health and other external sources of funding.


5. How was I recruited for the study?

COMPASS initial phase includes adults who represent the ethnic and racial distribution of Chicago. Targeted study areas were selected based on ethnic and racial distributions in various Chicago neighborhoods. Your address, which is located within one of these neighborhoods, was selected at random.


6. Am I still qualified to participate in the study if I moved out of Chicago?

Yes, you are still qualified to participate as long as you were a Chicago resident when you entered the study.


7. How will you follow up with participants over time?

Participants will be contacted every two to three years to obtain updated contact and health information as necessary.


8. How will we learn of study results?

Individual research results will not be given to study participants. However, general results that may provide potential medical benefit will be made available to participants through our annual newsletter, the COMPASS News, as well as the Compass website.


9. How often will I receive a COMPASS newsletter?

You will receive the newsletter once a year.


10. Why am I so important?

Input from every study participant is essential for the success of the study. We cannot ask another participant to take your place; only the original group of individuals who participate in the study can help complete the study successfully.


11. Is my response to the questionnaire important?

Your responses are very important. If participants do not answer the questions in the questionnaire, we may not be able to obtain enough health information to make the COMPASS study meaningful. Answers to the questions will be kept strictly confidential and will not be used for any other purpose than our research. The answers will not be shared with insurance companies, employers, law enforcement, etc.


12. Why are we collecting blood and urine specimens?

Biological specimens are used for many types of medical and public health research. They will enable us to examine the relationship between components (e.g., environmental toxins) measured in blood and urine and their interactions with genetic (hereditary) and/or changeable lifestyle and behavioral factors that contribute toward disease development.


13. What do I receive in return for participating in the study?

Participants will receive $50 for their efforts. Your contribution will benefit people now and in the future by bringing us closer to understanding the causes of cancer and chronic diseases. In the long-run, your participation will help enable our researchers develop improved disease prevention and treatment strategies. You will receive the COMPASS newsletter so that you can follow our activities.


14. Can participants help identify what health issues will be studied?

If you have suggestions, please let us know by emailing us, calling us, or writing to us.


15. Who can I contact if I have questions about COMPASS?

You can call our toll-free number, 1-855-726-6727 (1-855-7COMPAS), to reach study investigators and research staff or you can email us at


Skip to toolbar