Celebrating the Successful Pilot of NUENAS 1.0

by Christina Li, MPH

Earlier this spring, the Nebraska Urban Indian Health Coalition (NUIHC) graciously agreed to help pilot the Native Urban Elder Needs Assessment Survey (NUENAS 1.0).

An urban Indian Elder completes the paper version of NUENAS 1.0 at NUIHC’s clinic in Lincoln, NE

Twenty-six Elders completed the paper version of NUENAS 1.0 at NUIHC’s clinic in Lincoln, and another 4 completed it at NUIHC’s office in Omaha. 

Several factors helped make the pilot of NUENAS 1.0 successful. For instance, NUIHC staff personally called Elders to invite them to participate. During those conversations, many Elders asked about incentives and were pleased to learn they would receive a gift card upon survey completion.

Designating NUIHC’s clinic as the primary survey administration site was also helpful because clinic staff were able to recruit Native Elders who happened to be there for COVID-19 vaccination or other preventive services.

Donna Polk, PhD, NUIHC’s chief executive officer, expressed appreciation for the opportunity to help document urban Native Elders’ needs. “It was a privilege to be selected as the first service provider to participate in the survey,” she said.

She noted that the results of NUENAS 1.0 will enhance NUIHC’s efforts to improve Elders’ access to preventive care, healthy foods, and social connection.

When asked if she had any advice for other organizations planning to administer NUENAS 1.0 in person, Dr. Polk offered the following tips:

    • Allow each Elder at least an hour for survey completion
    • Build an extra 15 minutes into your schedule for getting people in and out
    • Make sure a familiar face is on site to greet Elders and thank them for their time
    • Have pencils and pens on hand for Elders to use
    • Offer bottled water and take other steps to make people as comfortable as possible


She also shared the following recommendations to lower the risk for COVID-19 transmission during in-person survey administration:

    • Require face masks for entry
    • Stagger Elders’ arrival times to minimize the potential for crowding
    • Seat people in rooms large enough for physical distancing but small enough to allow survey proctors to answer questions from several feet away


Organizations interested in administering NUENAS 1.0 should email the Coalition on Urban Indian Aging  

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