Participant Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the SOLARS Study?

SOLARS is a study being conducted by the UCSF Preterm Birth Initiative (PTBi) that looks at how stress, resilience and coping affect birth outcomes for Black and Latina/Hispanic women. We hope to collect valuable data aimed at addressing health disparities that contribute to preterm birth. The study aims to stamp out preterm birth in Black and Latina/Hispanic women and to improve birth outcomes in our communities.


What is Preterm Birth? Why is this important to me, my baby and my community?

Preterm birth is when a baby is born too early before 37 weeks of pregnancy have been completed. In 2015, preterm birth affected about 1 of every 10 infants born in the United States (Centers for Disease Control, 2017). Black and Latina families are experiencing Preterm Birth at the highest rates in the United States. CDC Infographic


Why is the SOLARS study important?

The SOLARS study is important because it will help give us a better understanding of the causes of preterm birth among women of color like yourselves. SOLARS is one of the first, large-scale studies, designed by women of color to help us understand the impact of stress, anxiety, and racism - in addition to resilience and coping - on preterm birth.


How does SOLARS work?

SOLARS asks that you allow us to be part of your pregnancy journey by asking you questions about your past and present life circumstances. You will fill out surveys at 5 time points online with the help of someone on the SOLARS research team, a person that you trust or entirely on your own. You will also be asked to provide small samples of saliva, blood, and urine at 5 time points via a home nurse visit or at a central location in Oakland. Providing these samples is a requirement to be a part of the study. Each participant will receive gift cards as a thank you for their participation.


Who is eligible for the SOLARS study?

Less than 18 weeks pregnant, Black/Latina women, 18 yrs/older,  who are willing to provide small samples of saliva, blood and urine that live OR work in Oakland AND reside in Alameda County.


I don’t have access to a computer or the internet. Can I still participate? Will someone help me?

The SOLARS team can help you complete your surveys if you are unable to access the internet or a computer.


What types of questions will you ask me?

The SOLARS surveys will ask you questions about how you feel both physically and emotionally during your pregnancy and the time leading up to it such as events in your childhood and teenage years. Some questions will be difficult to answer, but you are free to choose “prefer not to answer” with questions you are not comfortable answering.


How will you keep my information private?

The University of California is a research institution. All research projects conducted by the University must be approved through a special review process to protect patient safety, welfare and confidentiality. Your medical information may be important to further research efforts and the development of new knowledge. We may use and disclose medical information about our patients for research purposes, subject to the confidentiality provisions of state and federal law.

The health information that we collect about you during your participation in a study is stored securely and electronically. Access is limited to the investigators and SOLARS research team. Identifiable data (data that has had your name, birth date, or other identifiers) is removed, and is instead assigned a unique study I.D. number).


Will my insurance be billed or is there a cost associated with my participation in SOLARS?

Your insurance will NOT be billed and there is NO cost to you for participating in SOLARS.


How does compensation work in this study? How will I be paid for my time?

The timing of the surveys/biospecimen collection and gift card amounts are:

Timepoint 1:

15 - 20 weeks pregnant (plus 6 days)


Timepoint 2:

24 - 26 weeks pregnant (plus 6 days)


Timepoint 3:

30 - 32 weeks pregnant (plus 6 days)


Timepoint 4:

6 weeks postpartum (after delivery)


Timepoint 5:

6 months postpartum (after delivery)






What is the time commitment if I do decide to participate?

Much of this will depend on when in your pregnancy you will join the study, but we would ask that you complete up to 5 surveys at various time points in your pregnancy and after you deliver your baby so it could be up to 18 months.


What if I miss a session?

That’s okay! You can still participate and pick up where you left off.


What if I don’t want to provide certain samples?

You are free to leave the SOLARS study at any time if anything feels uncomfortable to you. However, it is our hope that we can discuss and answer any questions that you might have before you decide not to provide certain samples as not providing them will disqualify you from continuing with the study.


Who will be coming to take my samples? Am I collecting some myself?

Some samples you will collect yourself at home and others will be collected by a nurse who is trained in phlebotomy (drawing blood).


Who is a part of the team?

The SOLARS team consists of an all-female team of researchers, scientists, academics, project coordinators and nurse practitioner students at UCSF. You can read more about us here


Will I find out the results of the study?

Results from the study will eventually be published and shared. You will have access our findings by reading about it or by being part of any public event where the study findings are discussed.


I have more questions. Who can I contact?

You can get in touch with the SOLARS research team in English or in Spanish at (510) 543-1817 or email [email protected]