Chicago Health and Life Experiences of Women Study

The Women's Study


In 2012, we completed a third round of interviews with the women who have participated in one or both of the previous two rounds of CHLEW interviews, and interviewed a group of new participants for the first time. Even though we are not currently interviewing, we plan to apply for funding to continue the study. If we receive funding, we will contact past participants to request a new interview.

What will I need to do to continue my participation in the study?

The most important thing that you can do is make sure that we have your complete and correct information (address, phone numbers, and email address) so that we can contact you with updates about the study and opportunities to participate again. If you are unsure about whether we have this information, please call the research office at either 312-996-2504 or 866-678-5748 (toll free) or e-mail We welcome your calls and emails.

What if I moved or am moving away from the Chicago area?

Each of our study participants contributes greatly to the project. No matter where you live—even if you have moved—we want to stay in contact with you! You will be able to participate in future interviews even if you now live outside of Chicago or even outside of Illinois!.

What if I was interviewed around 2000 and 2005 but not a third time?

You are very important to our project. If you agreed to be contacted in the future, but were unable to participate in the third interview, you will be hearing from us in the future should we receive funding to continue the study. It is also possible that we have outdated contact information and were not able to reach you; please contact us to update your records.
However, if you asked not to be re-contacted, we will NOT call to ask for your participation again. If you have changed your mind about participating, please call the study office and let our staff know that you’d like to participate in the next round of interviews. If you are unsure about whether or not you agreed to be re-contacted, call our study office and our staff will check your status.

Why is my participation important?

The CHLEW is the first study to collect information about lesbians’ health over time. In this type of study it is important to involve each of our participants in each round of interviews. Previous studies of lesbians’ health have involved mostly white women who have higher levels of education and higher incomes. It is important to us to include as many women from diverse racial, ethnic, income, and educational backgrounds as possible. The information you share with us each time you are interviewed helps us create a more accurate and complete picture of women’s lives. No one can replace you in the study.

Why does diversity matter?

Many women tell us that their racial and ethnic identities are an important part of who they are. Understanding the differences and similarities among women of different races and ethnicities is an important part of understanding their health, and providing the best possible services to all women. Therefore, the CHLEW study places a great deal of importance on maintaining diversity within our group of participants. For many years, researchers have struggled to include women in health and social science studies, which were typically focused on men. Now that more studies are being done with women, our goal is to include a diverse range of women’s voices and experiences in research. The CHLEW study’s focus on lesbian women provides a critical foundation for bringing traditionally stigmatized and underserved women into the discussion on women’s health, and participants in the CHLEW come from multiple racial, economic, educational, and age groups.It is vital that we stay in contact with as many of the women who have participated in the study as possible to maintain this diversity.

No one can replace our participants, so please continue to notify us of changes in your contact information.