The Survey of the Health of Wisconsin (SHOW) is a statewide public health survey designed to help improve health in Wisconsin and throughout the world. The program has been in operation by the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health since 2008.

As of January 2017, the growing SHOW cohort includes over 6,000 adults and children. In 2017, our team is connecting with past participants for the first year of longitudinal follow-up for the study.

The Survey of the Health of Wisconsin is designed to:

  • conduct annual health surveys of Wisconsin residents and communities
  • conduct longitudinal follow-up of survey participants
  • enable community-specific and community-driven ancillary studies

The Survey of the Health of Wisconsin is the first statewide research survey of its kind to measure information on health in Wisconsin. The data that SHOW collects is shared with leaders, organizations and researchers who use it to improve health in the state. Findings from SHOW present a comprehensive picture of the health of Wisconsin residents, helping to identify needs and target resources where they are most needed.

SHOW is also an infrastructure that helps to design, conduct and analyze add-on and independent research projects. To date, SHOW has conducted over 20 research projects for outside agencies, such as the State of Wisconsin Department of Health Services, County Health Departments, Neighborhood coalitions, and multiple research projects through partners at the UW.

The Survey of the Health of Wisconsin is funded by the Wisconsin Partnership Program and is under the direction of director Dr. Kristen Malecki, PhD, MPH, at the School of Medicine and Public Health.

The SHOW team includes experts in survey research from the UW Department of Population Health Sciences and benefits from the scientific advice of a broad range of experts and consultants from multiple departments at UW and the state.

SHOW is modeled after the Center for Disease Control's national survey, which has provided key health information about the nation's health for 35 years. With state focus, SHOW provides the more detailed information needed to understand the unique health needs in Wisconsin.

SHOW conducted annual surveys from 2008 to 2016, and begins the first stage of longitudinal follow up in 2017.

SHOW uses a variety of health assessments methods to capture information about the health of Wisconsin residents. These assessments include: in-person interviews, paper questionnaires, computer-assisted surveys, physical measurements, actigraph measurements of activity and sleep, and laboratory tests.

SHOW collects a broad range of health information. These include many conditions and health-related characteristics that, to date, have only been measured by self-report. These conditions include high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Additionally, the use of computer-assisted questionnaires provide information about nutrition and exercise habits, access to health care, health care use and health related behaviors.

All the information collected by the Survey of the Health of Wisconsin is confidential. SHOW publishes results in summarized fashion, but no data on individual survey participants will be released or given away to any outside party. With the study participant's permission, the information will be available to qualified researchers well into the future and will be used to monitor the health of Wisconsin communities and to design programs that improve the health of residents.