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Behavioral Risk Factor Survey (BRFS)


The County of Santa Clara Public Health Department is conducting an online health survey called the Behavioral Risk Factor Survey (BRFS) to understand the health needs of our county residents. The BRFS asks questions on health, health risk behaviors, preventive practices, and demographic information from adults ages 18 and older.  The data are used to assess the health status of our county residents and provide insight into our health-related risk behaviors, chronic health conditions, and use of preventive services.

In February 2019, randomly selected county residents received an invitation to participate in the mail. If you participated and indicated that you would like to be contacted to answer short online surveys, our partner, California State University Institute for Social Research, will send follow-up links via email over the next few months. Please be on the look-out for those surveys that also offer a small cash reward. We thank you and appreciate your participation. The results of this Health Survey will help shape our county and the results will be posted here. With your input, we will continue to build a strong and vibrant community, where all residents have the opportunity to lead healthy lives. ​

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What is the Health Survey?
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Every three to four years the County of Santa Clara Public Health Department conducts this Health Survey to understand the overall health of our residents and community.  The survey is based on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance survey. The BRFS is a survey that gathers information about health, health risk behaviors, preventive practices, and demographic information from adults ages 18 and older in the United States.
Why was I selected?
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Your address was randomly selected from all possible addresses in Santa Clara County.  Your participation is important because you represent others in your area similar to yourself. The survey’s success is dependent on the sample size, which is why it’s important for those selected to take the survey.
How do I know if I have been invited to take the health survey?
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Randomly selected county residents will be invited to participate, and will be notified by a letter in the mail during the month of February 2019. The letter will contain a URL to the online survey. Only those who receive a letter invitation can participate.
How do I take the survey?
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The survey is taken online and requires an internet connection.
Who is asked to participate?
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Adults 18 years and older who live in Santa Clara County.
If I am selected, why is it important for me to participate?
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Your participation is important for three reasons.  One, your answers will help the Public Health Department develop programs and resources that help your neighbors, family, friends, and coworkers live healthier lives. Two, your participation helps ensure we reach our goal sample size. We need a good sample size for the results to be helpful.  Three, your answers will help the Public Health Department make informed decisions about policies, funding to our partners and nonprofits, and distribution of other resources throughout the county.
Am I required to take the survey?
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No. Participation is completely voluntary. However, participation by those randomly selected for the survey is very important to accurately represent all adults in Santa Clara County.
Will the survey be conducted in multiple languages?
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Yes. The survey is available online in Chinese, English, Spanish, and Vietnamese.
I have a disability. Will I be able to take the survey on my own?
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Yes. The online survey is accessible to those with auditory and sight disabilities with use of a screen reader. If you need further assistance, please contact the Public Health Department by phone 408-792-5040 or email statistics@phd.sccgov.org​.
Is the information collected from each individual made public?
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No. There is no personally identifiable information associated with the respondent’s answers. A fundamental principle of the health survey is protecting the respondent’s privacy. Answers to the questions are aggregated, which means that responses to any particular question are grouped together for reporting purposes. Individual responses are never reported.
How long does the survey take?
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The survey takes about 10-15 minutes to complete. 
I received a postcard in the mail in November. Is this the same survey?
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Yes. A postcard was mailed in November inviting selected individuals to participate in the Health Survey.  Due to a small response, we are mailing a letter invitation in February 2019 to persuade more people to respond. If you received a postcard and completed a survey, there is no need to complete the survey again. You will receive a follow-up link by email for additional surveys if you indicated interest.
What happens with the data?
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Data is organized by neighborhood and city, and is made accessible to the public. Personally identifiable information associated with the respondent’s answers are kept private and anonymous. The data provides insight into our health-related risk behaviors, chronic health conditions, and use of preventive services. Information gathered through the BRFS is used to identify emerging health problems; identify demographic differences and trends in health-related behaviors; establish and track health objectives; develop, implement and evaluate a broad array of disease prevention activities; and support health-related legislative and policy efforts.
Who is collecting and distributing the survey?
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The County of Santa Clara Public Health Department has contracted with California State University, Sacramento’s Institute for Social Research, which specializes in survey research. It has conducted the BRFS statewide for California and has extensive experience designing and implementing survey-based studies. Visit the website for more information: https://www.csus.edu/isr/ .
I have more questions, whom should I contact?
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If you have more questions about the survey, please contact County of Santa Clara Public Health Department by phone at 408-792-5040 or email at statistics@phd.sccgov.org​
Are there additional ways I can participate after taking the survey?
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Yes. On behalf of the Santa Clara County Public Health Department, our partner California State University, Sacramento’s Institute for Social Research will send a follow-up link via email to people who participated in the health survey and indicated that they would like to be contacted to participate in future surveys. The email will invite the participant to take a brief online health survey on additional topics. The Santa Clara County Public Health Department is sponsoring this survey, and encourages those contacted to participate. We thank you for your time.
What are the results from the last survey?
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​The last survey was taken in 2013. Read the 2013-2014 SCCPHD BRFS, and view the various BRFS, CHIS (California Health Interview Survey) and CHKS (California Healthy Kids Survey) the topic area to access the indicators below, download the Excel file of data to read the associated key findings:  ​​
Last updated: 3/14/2019 8:23 AM