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Oak Ridge Reservation

Oak Ridge Reservation: Health Needs Assessment Work Group

Historical Document

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Health Needs Assessment Work Group

February 7, 2001 - Meeting Minutes


ORRHES Members:
James Lewis, Co-Chair, Donna Mosby, Co-Chair, Al Brooks, Pete Malmquist, Susan Kaplan, Kowetha Davidson, ORRHES Chair

Public members:
Peggy Adkins

ATSDR Staff:
Jack Hanley, Theresa NeSmith, LaFreta Dalton, ATSDR (Conference phone); and Bill Murray


The meeting was called to order by Co-Chair, James Lewis at 5:00 p.m. He reviewed the agenda for the staff in Atlanta.


The participants introduced themselves.


James Lewis began by stating his purpose for this meeting is to review the Work Group members' understanding of what George Washington University (GWU) will do in its health needs assessment and to ensure that the results of the survey are communicated to the community at large and to individuals who need the information. His objective is to formulate recommendations for the Oak Ridge Reservation Health Effects Subcommittee (ORRHES) to consider presenting to GWU. He then asked the other members for their thoughts on this meeting.

Al Brooks said that he wanted to understand the health needs of the community as well as those of individuals. He does not want the process to turn into a critique of DOE operations.

Pete Malmquist said not to focus on complainers and wants to know how impacted residents can be found.

Kowetha Davidson said that we should go beyond needs identification and ask how the needs can be met. We should be looking at possible solutions and establish follow-up programs.

James Lewis reiterated that the focus is on problem identification and definition.

Kowetha Davidson continued that GWU was going to do this through focus groups, key informants and the telephone survey.

James Lewis said that GWU has limited resources and wants them to interact with the WG quickly to keep on track.


James Lewis thought it was important to determine who the customer is regarding the GWU survey. There was considerable discussion on this issue and the key points are listed below:

  • The primary customer of the GWU survey is the public - the community at large.
  • All parties must work together; focusing on disagreements will hinder progress.
  • GWU and ATSDR will work as a team with ORRHES.
  • Focus on ORR-related concerns and don't dilute with other concerns.
  • Consider individual concerns but don't get overwhelmed by personal concerns.
  • Distinguish between general health concerns and exposure-related issues.
  • Discriminate between perceived and actual environmentally related concerns.


A. Perspective on GWU's presentation - Most WG members thought the presentation was sketchy, lacking in details of how they will proceed. This may have resulted from the time limit for their talk. The ORRHES will use the WG's reports and their own discussion to provide input to GWU on focus groups, key informants, and the telephone survey.
B. Discussion and recommendations regarding the major program components.

  • Focus Groups - The WG is concerned about how many of these groups will be used and how the members will be selected. Both the WG and ORRHES should have input to GWU on selecting and constituting these groups.
  • Key informants - Similar thought were expressed on this issue. How many, who are they? The WG and ORRHES should have input to GWU.
  • Telephone survey - The WG members are very concerned about the small number (400) of telephone surveys that will be conducted relative to the population of the 8-county area (800,000). The statistical basis for this number must be provided to the WG and ORRHES.

C. Discussion of GWU interactions and communication with the WG - The WG will work cooperatively with GWU and wants to be kept informed of their activities and would like to meet with their project staff as soon as a meeting can be arranged.


The following Action Items were itemized:

  • The WG will develop a list of proposed focus groups and key informants and send to Donna Mosby.
  • GWU and ATSDR will propose focus groups.
  • GWU will provide a written description of the process they will follow.
  • GWU will provide a written justification of the number of telephone that is understandable to the non-scientist but also will present the statistical basis.
  • GWU will provide a status report on the focus groups and the questions for the telephone survey.
  • GWU will provide their definition of key informant and examples and the number they plan to contact.
  • GWU will specify the method by which they will communicate with the WG and ORRHES and email to the WG.

The final thought expressed was that the objective of this effort is to determine how the affected population can provide input to the WG and ORRHES in a meaningful way to reduce hostility, thereby increasing our credibility.

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