Baseline Needs Assessment/Focus Groups
What is this project and why did we do it?
Part of our mission is to protect public health by communicating potential health risks from contaminants. One way we do this is by preparing outreach and education materials. In order to find out what types of information people need, MDH worked with a contractor to conduct 12 focus groups around Minnesota. Participants lived in communities that were serviced by both public water supplies and private wells. Each focus group was asked the same set of questions about drinking water in Minnesota. This project sought to find out:
- What Minnesotans already know about contaminants in drinking water;
- How Minnesotans become aware of drinking water concerns;
- Who Minnesotans trust for information when they are concerned about their drinking water; and
- How we can improve our communication materials.
What were some key outcomes?
Participants of the focus groups indicated that local units of government are the entities they were most likely to contact when concerns about their drinking water emerged. As such, MDH will expand outreach and coordination efforts with these entities in order to reach a broader audience.
How will MDH use this information?
MDH will use the results of this study to improve communications about contaminants and to target various audiences more effectively.