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Santa Maria residents encouraged to participate in health needs survey

Posted at 1:13 PM, Oct 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-13 16:13:55-04

Beginning Thursday and continuing through Saturday, Oct. 15, data collectors will knock on doors in Santa Maria to ask residents questions about household and community health.

Jackie Ruiz, the Public Information Officer for Santa Barbara County Public Health, says the goal is to speak with 200 randomly selected households.

“We will be asking about impacts to the household on COVID-19. We'll also be asking about access to healthy foods. We'll be asking about community safety,” she told KSBY.

The survey is a collaboration between California and the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department, as well as Cottage Hospital and Dignity Health.

The data collectors will go out in teams of two. At least one person will be bilingual in English and Spanish.

“We will not be asking about documentation status. We will not even be asking names, so all of the data collected will be entirely confidential,” Ruiz said.

The survey will take between 15 to 20 minutes and the data collectors will be wearing identifiable vests with county and partner logos.

After the data is analyzed, the county will work on an improvement plan to address the gaps in community health.

Ruiz said it is difficult to assess what the results will be before the data is analyzed, but added, “More health care resources in their community. It may be more health education happening in schools. It may be just greater partnerships being formed to address the needs.”

The data will be shared with the community in January 2023.

Going door to door is a challenge and Ruiz acknowledged that not everyone will be home at the time of the survey. Consequentially, the data collectors will factor that into planning and might visit homes multiple times over the three days.

Earlier this year, a similar survey was conducted on the west side of the City of Santa Barbara.

More information about the Community Health Needs Assessment can be found on the county's website.