Recruitment process

The Birmingham pilot targeted 130 citizens (age 18 – 55) to take part in data collection covering air quality, health & wellbeing and mobility, exercise and transport. An additional 20 citizens were targeted for recruitment (10 x asthma suffers and 10 x Type 2 Diabetes sufferers). The recruitment process utilized a word-of-mouth and self-selection methodology which proved successful in generating interest about PULSE.

Promotional materials were developed and distributed to local Community Groups, Faith Centres, Health Centres and Primary Schools to engage local citizens. Pilot Site staff also attended nationally organised events such as National Clean Air Day to further solicit interest and recruit participants to the project as well as to assist in identifying potential site hosts for the air quality monitors.

Birmingham also used a local community-based outreach worker, a resident of the pilot area with local knowledge who was well connected to community and faith groups in the area to facilitate ‘word of mouth’ recruitment.

All potential participants were invited to attend induction sessions at local venues such as schools, community and faith centres, where they were briefed about PULSE and the requirements to participate in the project, and everyone was issued with a Participant Information Sheet. Once citizens were happy to take part in PULSE, they consented to the sharing of their Fitbit activity data as well as data collected through the PulsAir application

In the early phases, initial deployment of the PulsAir app with 30 users provided feedback on some of the compatibility issues encountered across different devices and operating systems e.g. presentation of the activity data on Android vs IOS devices and differences in scheduling of the questionnaires. Second and third batches of participants have successfully reached the project objectives.

A total number of 153 citizens aged between 18 – 55 years have been recruited from the targeted areas; each of whom were issued with a Fitbit (as an incentive to take part and a means to collect and share their data with project.) including over 20 citizens that have T2D or asthma. There is also a project control / stakeholder group, which is made up of Birmingham citizens’ x5 of whom have downloaded the Pulsair App and over 199 citizens have also completed the Healthy City survey to date. The baseline stakeholder group is city wide and do not receive a Fitbit as part of their engagement.

Participants downloaded the Pulsair App and also completed various health and wellbeing questionnaires including a Healthy City Survey designed to inform the project about local neighbourhood environments and health related factors such as access to healthy foods, green spaces and places to conduct physical activity.

Six Dunavet Air Quality Monitoring sensors have been deployed in the locality to monitor the full range of air pollutants at a local level including NOx and PM 2.5 and PM 10; one of which will be co-located next to a diffusion tube monitor managed by Birmingham City Council’s Environmental Team to validate the results.