FAQs

This page covers everything you need to know about the COMPASS study

How long does this study last?

COMPASS will last ten years or longer. If you enroll in COMPASS, we would like to be able to re-contact you for at least the next ten years.

Will I get to see the results?

COMPASS will not provide participants with their individual data at this time, but it is possible that in the future we will be able to share some individual-level data with participants. We will share findings with participants via community presentations, through our community partner organizations, and on our website. Some of these findings will be from citywide data analysis, and some may apply directly to your neighborhood.

Is participating in COMPASS the same as receiving health care?

COMPASS is a research program and does not provide health care. The measurements, biospecimens, and other data we collect are for research purposes only and cannot be used to diagnose or treat any health condition or disease. If you have questions or concerns about your personal health, please seek the advice of a physician or other health care professional.

How many people will participate in COMPASS?

Our goal is for 10,000 Chicagoans to participate in COMPASS during its current pilot phase. After the pilot phase, we would like a further 90,000 participants for a total of 100,000 COMPASS participants. This is about 4% of the total population of Chicago.

How many people have participated in COMPASS so far?

Since the research team began collecting data in 2013, over 6,000 Chicago residents have joined COMPASS.

How do I enroll?

To enroll in COMPASS, contact our program staff (contact info) or attend one of our mobile research unit events.

Who can participate?

To participate in COMPASS, you must live in the greater Chicago area and be 35 years old or older. Participants cannot be incarcerated at the time of enrollment.

Can I complete the study requirements in another language?

At the moment, all COMPASS surveys and other materials are only available in English. We plan to offer a Spanish language version in the near future.

Do I have to be a U.S. citizen to participate in COMPASS?

There is no citizenship requirement to participate in COMPASS, and our team does not ask about participants’ citizenship or immigration status.

What happens if I join COMPASS and then want to quit?

Participation in COMPASS is completely voluntary, and no one can make you stay in the study if you don’t want to. If you would like to withdraw from COMPASS, please email compass at compassinfo@uchicago.edu

How many times can I participate?

An individual can only enroll in COMPASS one time. However, participants are eligible to provide follow-up survey data, biospecimens, and physical measurements every two years after enrollment.

Do I need to make an appointment to participate?

If you plan on visiting our research clinic at the UChicago Medical Center, we prefer that you call or email to schedule an appointment. Making an appointment will ensure that your wait time is kept to a minimum, and it is a great help to our staff as they plan for the workday.

How do I prepare for my appointment?

Before your scheduled visit, be sure to have something to eat, drink plenty of water, and take any medications as usual. Please bring a current hard copy government-issued photo ID to your visit (driver’s license, state ID card, CityKey, or passport).

Is COMPASS a paid study?

COMPASS participants receive up to $75 in incentives as a thank-you and to help compensate them for their time and effort.

Does COMPASS pay cash?

COMPASS incentives are distributed in the form of Visa cash cards, rather than cash. These cards can be used at any place of business that accepts debit or credit cards.

How much can I be paid for participating in COMPASS?

Newly-enrolled COMPASS participants are eligible to receive up to $75 for full participation. This $75 is divided into three $25 incentives.

Participants receive incentive #1 when they enroll in COMPASS, complete the consent process, complete survey #1, and provide biospecimens and physical measurements.

Participants receive incentive #2 when they have completed survey #2 and survey #3.

Incentive #3 is distributed to participants who choose to provide home air quality measurements. This incentive is given to the participant after the air quality monitors have collected data from their home and have been retrieved by COMPASS program staff. The participant is also asked to complete a brief air quality survey.

COMPASS participants are eligible to receive an additional $25 incentive if they provide follow-up survey data, biospecimens, and physical measurements at least two years after enrollment.

Why does COMPASS want blood samples?

Blood samples can provide researchers with a lot of important information about a person’s health, including genetic background, metabolism, and exposure to pollutants in the environment. These and other pieces of information all play a role in health across a person’s lifespan.

Why does COMPASS want saliva samples?

A saliva sample is a valuable piece of data in health research. In addition to genetic information, saliva also contains important hormones like cortisol, estrogen, and testosterone.

Why does COMPASS want urine samples?

COMPASS analyzes urine samples in order to understand participants’ levels of exposure to pollutants such as pesticides, herbicides, and metals.

Why does COMPASS want stool samples?

By analyzing a sample of your stool, researchers can better understand the complex environment inside your digestive system. This is called the gut microbiome, and researchers are beginning to learn a lot about its important role in long-term health.

Will you test my biospecimens for drugs?

COMPASS does not test participants’ urine for drugs.

If you find a problem with my biospecimens, will you let me know?

Because COMPASS is research and not health care, participants do not receive results from the lab tests conducted on their biospecimens.

Why does COMPASS want home air quality data?

COMPASS collects data on the air quality inside participants’ homes in order to better understand the types of pollutants participants may be exposed to in the course of daily life. These include particulate matter, mold, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), radon, and other pollutants. For more information on the COMPASS Environmental Exposure Monitoring Program, please visit the environmental exposure page. If you have any questions about the devices themselves, please visit the device FAQ page.

Why does COMPASS want electronic health record data?

The goal of COMPASS is to better understand the long-term health of Chicago residents. Collecting data from electronic health records (EHR) is an accurate and efficient way to see how participants’ health changes over time. Electronic health records show researchers how often participants access health care resources, what types of health conditions they develop, and how these conditions are treated.

Why does COMPASS want follow-up data from participants?

Participants are encouraged to complete a follow-up visit every two years in order to provide the types of data we can’t collect from electronic health records. This includes updated contact information (home address, phone number, email address), updated survey data on health behaviors, and new biospecimens for analysis. In particular, updated biospecimens can tell researchers a lot about how participants’ health has changed over the last two years.

Who can see my data?

Only some members of the COMPASS research staff will ever be able to see data linked to your name and other identifiers. All other staff members and other researchers will only see large data sets that include your de-identified information.

Where are my data stored?

Your biospecimens are stored in a secure laboratory at the University of Chicago. Your survey data and other data are stored on secured servers at the University of Chicago. All specimen/data storage and management tools and procedures are subjected to a security review by a team of specialists at UChicago.

Do you share my information with my doctor or my insurance company?

COMPASS does not share your information with your doctor or your insurance company.