Calvin College

CALVIN - Minds in the Making

Strengthening Liberal Arts Education by Embracing Place and Particularity

Case Study

Get the Lead Out! Retailer Survey

Description of the Project

The Retailer Survey project was designed by Calvin Nursing in late 2005 in partnership with the other members of the Get the Lead Out! Outreach Committee; most notably the Grand Valley State University (GVSU) Kirkhof School of Nursing, the Healthy Homes Coalition, and the Kent County Health Department.  The goal of the project was to collect base-line information about the practices of 40 paint and building supply retailers serving four low-income, central city neighborhoods (10 retailers per neighborhood).  The study sought to assess the knowledge of paint retailers regarding LSWP, evaluate inventory of products and display of information on LSWP, and to lay the groundwork for future engagement of retail industry.

Collaboratively, Calvin and GVSU designed survey tools and an approach that would meet with IRB approval.  The Healthy Homes Coalition assisted by providing technical expertise regarding LSWP and the needed supplies and materials.  Existing community and faith-based partners working with Calvin (3 neighborhoods) and GVSU (1 neighborhood) identified key retailers.

In the spring of 2006, nursing students from both colleges initiated contact with 40 retailers using a prepared telephone script to schedule a session for data collection.  Thirty-seven (92.5%) of the retailers agreed to participate.

Teams of two students then visited each retailer to collect data using a prepared script and survey.  Students were instructed to record both survey participant comments as well as empirical observations of the store environment.  Thirty-two (80%) surveys were satisfactorily completed, including consent forms.

The survey investigated LSWP educational materials provided to customers, products sold, staff training, and customer education.  A narrow majority of retailers stocked some of the products needed for LSWP.  The vast majority provided little or no educational materials and conducted no employee or customer education.  Forty percent of retailers surveyed failed to answer even one of the questions satisfactorily.

The study was completed in June 2006 and provided students, faculty and the Get the Lead Out! Outreach Committee clear indication that there is a need to 1) disseminate information to retailers, 2) develop educational programs on LSWP for retailers and customers, and 3) build sustainable collaborations and projects.

Following the study, Calvin and GVSU nursing students developed a scripted approach and returned to the surveyed paint retailers in the spring and early summer of 2007 to ensure that they have adequate educational materials and to offer the assistance of Get the Lead Out! in training retailer staff.  Students have also developed, at the request of one retailer, a succinct, one-page fact sheet that includes local resources for homeowners and maintenance staff.  This fact sheet was shared with many who participated, which resulted in an additional retailer requesting the fact sheet in Spanish, which was accomplished and welcomed by other retailers.

Plans to sustain this program include re-surveying participants in 2008 to measure improvement (and offering the service to new retailers).  It is anticipated that ongoing measurement will take place in even numbered years, with education and technical assistance during the years in between.


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